What is Amblyopia? Amblyopia (also sometimes referred to as lazy eye) is a medical term used to describe the occurrence of reduced vision in
one eye compared to the other. This disorder is caused by the failure of the weaker eye to properly work with the brain causing the brain to favor
the other stronger eye. Amblyopia is a common visual impairment among children where the incidence of occurrence in children is between two to three
percent. If the problem is not addressed during childhood it could persist into adulthood so lets take a deeper look into what causes this disorder
and how it is treated?
Amblyopia, as a disorder, can encompass anyone who requires a vision correction for either farsightedness or nearsightedness and virtually anything
in between. In fact, anyone that requires any type of vision correction that may inhibit the eye from properly focusing light onto the retina and seeing
clearly can be afflicted. For example, one common cause can be due to the misalignment of the eyes which forces the brain to allocate a preference to one
eye over the other.
There are various common treatments for amblyopia. Most include training the brain to depend and use the weaker eye more in an effort to strengthen
its vision. The two most common treatments used to achieve this is Atropine and Patching.
Atropine: This treatment uses a drug called atropine, which is usually applied once a day to the stronger eye causing it to blur its vision. By blurring
the stronger eye's vision Atropine affects the brain's tendency for preference and forcing it to use the weaker one. According to the National Institute of
Health this method is seen as being just as effective as the patch.
Patching: Patching is when an adhesive patch is placed over the dominant eye for a prescribed amount of time. This treatment forces the child's weaker
eye to be used and promotes its vision development. According to the National Eye Institute, using this method on moderate cases of amblyopia, a couple hours
per day can be just as effective as doing it for six hours. However, for more severe cases it is recommended to extend the treatment period to 6 hours.
Although the National Institute of Health supports the premise that treating amblyopia has a higher success rate in very young children clinical trials
have shown that children between the ages of seven and seventeen also benefited from this treatment. Amblyopia is a vision impairment problem that impacts
millions of people however it can be treated relatively easily. If someone you know suffers from this disorder have them or their care giver contact an eye
doctor for an appropriate course of action and treatment.
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