Lazy eye or amblyopia is often responsible for reduced vision in children. Amblyopia is diagnosed when there is evidence of reduced vision that cannot be explained entirely on the basis of any physical abnormality in the eye. When one eye vision is not improved up to normal level without any problem in the eye, than that eye is labeled as amblyopic eye.
Dr Rajeev Kumar, Ophthalmic Surgeon, Zulekha Hospitals, says that children with amblyopia or at risk of amblyopia can be identified and treated at young age (up to 9 years) when the prognosis for successful treatment is best.
Amblyopia can be due to squint when one eye is deviated outward or inward from the normal position. Deviated eye is not used fully. So the unused eye becomes weaker than normal eye. So the deviated eye becomes the lazy eye, he adds.
Amblyopia can also be due to unequal refractive error in the two eyes. A blurred image forms on the retina of high refractive error eye. This is anisometropic amblyopia.
Amblyopia can also occur due to high bilateral refractive error, high astigmatism, congenital cataract in one eye or corneal opacity in one eye.
Treatment of amblyopia involves the following steps.
- Eliminating (if possible) any obstacle to vision such as cataract.
- Correction of refractive error.
- Forcing use of the poorer eye by limiting the use of the better eye by part-time or full time patching of the sound eye. Amblyopia can be reversed by treatment up to the age of 8-9 years. It is advisable to regularly check the eyes of your school-going children.