Can you fix a lazy eye?
Lazy eye can be fixed with the best outcomes if detected early in life (up to seven years of age).
Neuroscience has proven that the human brain can change at any age (neuroplasticity); hence, fixing amblyopia is possible at any age. However, if detected before the age of 17 years, amblyopia can be fixed to some extent using eyeglasses, eye drops, and eye patches.
What is a lazy eye?
Lazy eye or amblyopia is a condition in which one eye has poor vision due to a lack of coordination between the brain and eye. Over time, the brain favors the stronger eye, leading to permanent vision loss in the weak eye. Amblyopia affects three out of 100 children.
What causes a lazy eye?
Some of the most common causes of a lazy eye:
- Refractive errors: In this condition, one eye has a good focus compared to the other. The other eye may have nearsightedness, farsightedness, or blurry vision (astigmatism). This can lead to the brain favoring the stronger eye, ultimately, leading to vision loss in the weaker eye.
- Strabismus (squint): In this condition, the eyes don’t move together as a pair. One eye might drift in and out.
- Cataracts: This condition causes cloudiness in the lens of the eye, blurring vision. It mostly occurs in older people, but in some cases, babies and children can also develop cataracts.
- Ptosis: A drooping eyelid can obstruct vision.
Who is at risk of getting a lazy eye?
Factors that increase the risk of getting a lazy eye are:
- Premature birth
- Family history of amblyopia
- Low birth weight
- Developmental disabilities
What are the symptoms of lazy eye?
Symptoms of lazy eye include:
- Lack of depth perception
- Squinting or shutting one eye
- Head tilting
How is lazy eye diagnosed?
Vision testing should be done before they are school-age. The doctor might check the eyes to make sure that:
- Both eyes see equally
- Both eyes move in pair
- Nothing blocks the light coming into their eyes
Visual acuity tests or examinations with cycloplegic drops may be necessary to detect this condition early.
How is lazy eye treated?
Treatment for amblyopia should begin as early as possible to prevent permanent blindness. Depending on the cause, the treatment might involve:
- Correction of vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. The doctor might prescribe glasses to help their eye to focus.
- Wearing an eye patch over the stronger eye forces the brain to use the weak one. This therapy might improve your vision in a few days.
- Atropine eye drops to blur the strong eye forcing the brain to use the weak eye. This therapy replaces the need for an eye patch.
- A Bangerter filter placed over the lens of the stronger eye can blur the vision of the stronger eye.
- Surgery might be preferred to treat cataract or strabismus
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