Fight For Sight
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Waterford
Ireland
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Lazy Eye / Amblyopia

Description of Lazy Eye / Amblyopia

At birth a child is born long-sighted - or hyperopic. As they grow and develop the eye also grows larger and longer. Unfortunately, in some children both eyes may not develop at the same rate and this may result in blurred vision. In some children, particularly in those with a family history of a lazy eye, a squint or turn in the eye, the brain ignores the sight from the eye with the worst focus and suppresses the image it receives from this eye, resulting in reduced vision in the eye. As the child continues its growth into its second and third years, the affected eye's vision becomes increasingly neglected by the brain resulting in further deterioration of vision due to reduced stimulus from eye to brain. The muscles controlling the movement of the eye also become affected resulting in a squint or turn in the eye.

Symptoms of Lazy Eye / Amblyopia

Because a lazy eye occurs initially in infants a first diagnosis is generally only made when a flick turn is noticed in one or other of the eyes. Family members who have had a similar problem themselves as children will often notice the condition first. Where the abnormality in the eye is due to a cataract this may bring it to the attention of a parent by direct observation. In adults who have forgotten about their childhood condition, a lazy eye may be brought to their attention following an eye trauma involving the unaffected eye or during a regular eye test.

Treatment of Lazy Eye / Amblyopia

Where there is a strong family history of a lazy eye, a squint or turn, it is essential to observe new-born infants and their subsequent development. If the condition is noticed, immediate referral to an eye specialist who is qualified to treat the condition is prudent.The treatment consists initially, of the application of eye drops which dilate the pupils in order to facilitate an eye-test. The eye-test will then determine if the patient requires spectacles and will also reveal the presence of any underlying eye disease or abnormality. Spectacles may then be prescribed and a specialist may be engaged to supervise patching or occlusion of the unaffected eye in order to strengthen the sight in the lazy eye. This patching allows the brain to utilise and regenerate the image coming to the brain from the eye. In small children where a patch or spectacles may prove impractical,Atropine drops may be used to blur the sight in the good eye for a period of time. Surgery to straighten a turn isusually carried out when vision in the squinting eye has sufficiently recovered.