Amblyopia, also known as "Lazy Eye", is an eye condition that affects 2-3% of the population. Usually one eye is weaker than the other and if that eye is left untreated, significant vision loss, and in some cases functional blindness, can occur. Although the amblyopic eye has the capability to see, the brain "turns off" the image from this eye because it is blurry. The brain chooses to see only the image from the stronger eye because it presents a clearer image.
Amblyopia Symptoms and Signs
Amblyopia generally develops in young children, before age six. Its symptoms often are noted by parents, caregivers or health-care professionals. If a child squints or completely closes one eye to see, he or she may have amblyopia. Other signs include overall poor visual acuity, eyestrain and headaches.
The treatment for amblyopia depends on the underlying problem. In some cases, the strong eye is temporarily patched so the child is forced to use the weaker eye. For children with problems relating to a refractive error, glasses may be necessary to correct vision. Problems that impair vision such as cataracts, droopy eyelids, or "crossed eyes" (strabismus) often require surgery. Regardless of the treatment required, it is of utmost importance that intervention is implemented as early as possible before the child’s brain learns to permanently suppress or ignore the eye.
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