What is Amblyopia?
Amblyopia is a condition that results in reduced vision in one of the eyes due to an impaired coordination between the eye and the brain. It is not a result of any eye disease but is marked by a reduction in vision that cannot be corrected by glasses or contact lenses. Although the eye appears normal, it is not being used normally as the brain favours the functioning of the other eye (the good eye). This condition is also sometimes referred to as a“lazy eye”. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 50 children will develop a lazy eye. Generally, children are diagnosed with this condition around the age of four, which means that the child can see less clearly out of one eye and relies more on the “good” eye.
What are the causes of Amblyopia:
Amblyopia is generally the result of poor visual development during the early years of an individual’s life. It usually occurs before the age of 8. Infants born prematurely or with low birth weight show a greater risk of developing this condition. Brain does not fully acknowledge the images seen by the amblyopic eye. This can be due to a reduction in the amount of light entering the eye, a lack of focus in the eye or confusion between the eyes – where the two images are not the same such as a squint (a condition in which the eyes don’t look in the same direction).
Our eyes function like a camera. An image enters through the lens of each eye and is focused onto the retina which is a light sensitive layer of tissue. The retina translates the image into nerve signals that are sent to the brain. The brain then combines the signals from each eye into a three-dimensional image. The end result of all forms of amblyopia is reduced vision in the affected eye. If left untreated, vision loss occurs due to the improper stimulation of nerve pathways between the brain and the eye.
What are the symptoms of Amblyopia:
Amblyopia(lazy eye) does not usually cause symptoms. Younger children are often unaware that there is anything wrong with their vision and, even if they are, they usually fail to describe their condition unlike the older children who may voice their concerns regarding the inability to see clearly through one eye.In some cases one eye may look different from the other. However, this is usually a sign of another condition that could lead to a lazy eye, such as Strabismus (squint). Strabismus is condition in which the eyes don’t look in the same direction.
Types of Amblyopia:
There are usually three different types of Amblyopia seen among people:
- Strabismic Amblyopia:
Strabismic amblyopia develops when the eyes are not straight, wherein the eye may turn in, out, up or down. In such a condition, the brain begins to ignore, or “turns off” the eye that is not straight resulting in reduced vision in that eye.
- Deprivation Amblyopia:
Deprivation amblyopia develops when cataracts or similar conditions “deprive” young children’s eyes of visual experience. If not treated very early, these children never learn to see well and can have very poor vision. Sometimes this kind of amblyopia can affect both eyes.
- Refractive Amblyopia:
Refractive amblyopia is observed in cases where there is a large or unequal amount of refractive error between a child’s eyes in which the brain learns how to see well from the eye that has less need for glasses and does not learn to see well from the eye that has a greater need for glasses. The vision problem may not be easily identifiable as the child does not complain of blurred vision so long as the good eye compensates for the lack of vision in the amblyopic eye. Also, the eye affected with Amblyopia may not look much different from the normal eye. Hence, because the child’s eyes look normal, parents and physician may not suspect that there could be a problem. For these reasons, this kind of amblyopia in children may not be detected until the child has a vision test. Refractive Amblyopia can affect one or both eyes and can be best helped if the problem is detected early.
Treatment for Amblyopia:
The treatment for Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) in India at Sanjeevan is designed in such a way that they help the entire visual apparatus (the lens, ciliary muscles, retina and the optic nerve) to relax and re-gain enough strength to recover from Amblyopia. Our treatment helps to improve visual acuity with improvement in the three dimensional vision and also depth perception.It also focuses on conditioning the optic pathway of the amblyopic eye.
If amblyopia treatment is not begun as early as possible, several problems can develop that can seriously affect vision from childhood into adulthood. Some of these complications include the development of serious and permanent visual defect; loss of depth perception (seeing in three dimensions) as 3D vision requires a good vision in both eyes; possibility of a lifetime of poor vision if the stronger eye becomes diseased or injured.
Since the main causes of Amblyopia are Strabismic – by strabismus (misaligned eyes), refractive – by anisomertropia (high degrees of near sightedness, far sightedness or astigmatism in one or both eyes) and deprivational – by deprivation of vision early in life due to disorders that obstruct the vision such as congenital cataract; we treat the symptoms of each of these causes which mainly arises from optical defect. Hence, we treat the optical defect in the eye.
We at Sanjeevan strongly believe that Amblyopia treatment is not age dependent but requires more effort with vision therapy. Every amblyopic patient deserves an attempt at treatment. If left untreated, the brain simply pays lesser and lesser attention to the images sent by the amblyopic eye. Eventually, the condition stabilizes, and the eye is virtually unused.
Lazy eye treatment in India at Sanjeevan helps stimulate the neural activity in the visual cortex part of the brain. We improve the depth perception, binocular vision and three dimensional vision which are commonly affected in patients with Amblyopia. In addition to this, our treatment process helps increase the blood supply and oxygenation of the retina which in turn helps in the treatment of Amblyopia.