Amblyopia refers to a condition wherein a reduced vision presents in one eye that has not received adequate use during early childhood or infancy. Amblyopia happens when the eyes have different ability to focus and perceive images. Various researches state that it is estimated that two to three percent of worldwide population is suffering from amblyopic eyes.
Will amblyopia cause blindness?
Amblyopia is often visible as eye misalignment, in which one eye has poorer visual ability compared to another one. In children, especially during preverbal years, this vision impairment problem is often hard to observe, unless it causes visible eye misalignment as one of its main symptoms. Hence, infants and young children may suffer from this problem without proper initial treatments before the age of 10.
Amblyopia does cause vision impairment to the affected eye. Many people thus assume this as one of the most common cause for vision loss. In fact, this is definitely not an old-wives’ tale, as severe amblyopia does lead to vision loss. People with amblyopia does not necessarily have the problem in both eyes. Instead, they tend to have difficulties to focus and perceive with only one of the eyes. Hence, when this problem is left untreated, it may gradually cause total vision loss to the affected eye, while another eye which remains healthy and strong.
Amblyopia mainly occurs during childhood time and develop gradually. Once a child is suffering from the symptoms of lazy eyes, it is possible that they will stop using the affected eye and focus their sight on the stronger one that eventually the brain stops sending optic signal to the lazier one. When the brain sends less signals to the affected eye, it becomes even harder for this eye to work with the other eye and focus to the objects. Therefore, when an amblyopic eye is left untreated, it will definitely lose its ability to perceive objects. As a result, the patient may suffer from a partial blindness of the eye, in which the amblyopic eye may not work properly, while another eye may still be able to perceive objects without any problems.
To avoid blindness
Early diagnose and proper treatments are crucial in order to prevent blindness triggered by amblyopia. In fact, certain treatments performed to an earlier stage of lazy eye can restore its ability to focus and provide clear vision, although the patient may require glasses or contact lenses help. Although not easy, parents with young children and infants are advised to observe possible symptoms and signs of amblyopia during children’s early age. It is important to observe whether they squint to focus on certain objects in certain distance, whether their sight moves along with objects they perceive, and whether they are still comfortable seeing even when one of the eyes is covered. These simple observation can tell basic condition of very young children’s eye health, which is essential for providing treatments once suspected amblyopia does persist.
When amblyopic eye loses its ability to receive the signals from the brain and thus, to perceive things, partial blindness may be unavoidable. If the problem has reached this stage, it can much harder to involve the affected eye into proper seeing process. However, certain surgeries may not necessarily depend on the sufferer’s age and can be performed to help correct the vision from childhood residual amblyopia.
When the treatments should begin
There are a lot of cases in which amblyopia is detected in children and even infants. Since the symptoms and signs of this eye disorder can possibly be observed physically, parents should be able to know their children’s risk of amblyopia and thus, provide initial treatments soon after this diagnose is pointed out by children eye expert. Early treatment, such as glass or contact lenses wearing should be given as soon as possible and done as consistent as possible. During this time, it is important for parents to motivate amblyopic children tin undergoing home treatments, such as daily eye patching in order to promote better amblyopic eye ability. If amblyopic eye cannot be treated with glasses or contact lenses, surgery can be performed after seeking advices from a trusted ophthalmologist and after making sure that the children has reached sufficient age.