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Amblyopia also known as lazy eye, is an eye disorder which is said to affect 1 to 5 per cent of the population. It leads to poor vision in an eye that is physically normal.

This problem may be caused during early childhood due to poor or bad transmission of visual images to the brain over a prolonged period.{{more}}

How is it caused?

Usually amblyopia affects only one eye but if both eyes are prevented from seeing normal, clear visual images it is possible to have it affecting both eyes. If detected very early in childhood, the chances of successful treatment are enhanced. By direct brain examination, it has been confirmed that lazy eye is a developmental brain problem rather than an organic disorder of the eye.

The part of the brain communicating with the visual system of the lazy eye lacks proper stimulation. Thus, the lazy or amblyopic eye develops abnormally. Many people affected by amblyopia don’t realize that they have this condition until they’re tested for it , because their normal other eye has proper vision and compensates for it.

This is true for people with only minor amblyopia. Severe amblyopia results in poor depth perception among other visual disorders. They also have bad spatial acuity, low perception of contrast and low sensitivity to motion among some other deficits. These problems are only with the lazy eye; the normal eye remains unaffected by this. Amblyopic eyes also have binocular vision problems such as low stereoscopic depth perception..

Vision deprivation in early life, anisometropia (varying degress of farsightedness and nearsightedness in each eye), vision obstructing problems, or badly aligned, crossed (or strabismic eyes) can lead to the development of amblyopia or lazy eye.

How is Amblyopia treated?

Amblyopia caused by strabismus and anisometropia can be treated by correcting the optical deficit and forcing the use of the lazy eye, by either using an eye patch on the unaffected eye or by instilling topical atropine in the normal eye.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us.

Send questions to:
Tel: 784 456-1210