Amblyopia – A Worldwide Threat to Children’s Vision
Few people recognize this disorder… unless they hear it by its more popular name.
Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, is a condition that decreases overall vision due to the abnormal development of one of the eyes. Amblyopia develops early in a person’s life, no later than when an individual is 7 years-old. It is characterized by a lack of coordination between the eyes, especially when one eye appears to fall behind the other (hence the term “lazy eye”).
Amblyopia results from a disagreement between the brain and one of the eyes. When they stubbornly refuse to cooperate, the brain begins to rely on the other eye for vision, and the uncooperative eye becomes progressively weaker from disuse. This creates a gap in strength between the eyes that widens over time, causing problems like bad vision and poor depth perception.
About 3% of all children have amblyopia to some degree, making it the leading cause of vision loss in kids. Some are born with the condition, and others develop it within their first 7 years. Children who were born prematurely are at a higher risk of developing amblyopia, as are those with developmental disabilities and a family history of eye conditions.
Amblyopia poses a great risk to the eye health of children. Luckily, treatment options exist in the form of eye patches and eye drops that force the brain to use the weaker eye and strengthen the connection. But remember, amblyopia develops very early. It is crucial that children receive their first eye examination between the ages of 3 and 5 to catch this condition in its infancy and begin treatment as soon as possible.
If you believe your child is affected by amblyopia, then you should seek medical advice immediately. Our optometrists are experienced at diagnosing and treating a variety of eye problems. To schedule an appointment with Sterling Vision, call 541-262-0597 or schedule online.