“Lazy eye”, technically known as amblyopia, refers to the lack of vision in an anatomically normal eye, generally caused by the lack of stimulation during the period of vision development.
It is a disorder which appears during childhood, but if not diagnosed and treated on time, it can become chronic and persist into adulthood.
It appears when one of these conditions takes place:
- Anisometropia - The two eyes have very different refractive power.
- Strabismus - Ocular deviation.
- Cataract - Crystalline lens opacification.
- Ptosis - Drooping upper eyelid which alters vision by stopping light from passing through the pupil.
Children under 5 years of age whose vision is still developing are the ones most at risk of suffering from amblyopia. On a general basis, the younger the child, the greater the risk.
Lazy eye appears because the brain receives two different images (one from each eye), in the same way as in strabismus. In younger children, the brain ignores the lower quality image and stays with the clearer image.
The treatment for lazy eye is only effective during childhood when vision development is taking place. Prevention is fundamental as if not diagnosed and treated in early stages, it will give place to irreversible visual impairment.
The treatment involves solving the disorder which is causing amblyopia (refractive errors, strabismus, ptosis...) and penalizing the good eye so that the lazy eye is forced to work too. Nowadays, the most widely used method is to cover the good eye using an eye patch for a set period of time which will depend on the severity of amblyopia and the child’s age.
Other ocular disorders