From birth until about age 8, a child's eyes and brain form vital connections. Anything that blocks or blurs vision in one or both eyes can slow down or prevent these connections. If that happens, the brain might not fully recognize the images seen by one or both eyes. Then, the brain begins to ignore the images seen by the otherwise healthy eye, and the eye becomes weaker, losing vision strength (acuity). This eye is then referred to as "amblyopic."
Kids who have it will develop good vision in one eye and poor vision in the other. Kids often get used to this vision problem, and might not mention it to parents. As a result, their amblyopia might not be diagnosed for months or even years, while parents chalk up poor grades or clumsiness to a child not being academically or athletically gifted.
Signs and symptoms of lazy eye include:
- An eye that wanders inward or outward
- Eyes that appear to not work together
- Poor depth perception
- Squinting or shutting an eye
- Head tilting
- Abnormal results of vision screening tests
- Muscle imbalance (strabismus). The most common cause of lazy eye is an imbalance in the muscles that position the eyes. This imbalance can cause the eyes to cross in or turn out, and prevents them from tracking together in a coordinated way.
- Difference in sharpness of vision between the eyes (refractive anisometropia). A significant difference between the prescriptions in each eye — often due to farsightedness but sometimes to nearsightedness or an imperfection on the surface of the eye called astigmatism — can result in lazy eye. Glasses or contact lenses are typically used to correct these refractive problems. In some children lazy eye is caused by a combination of strabismus and refractive problems.
- Deprivation. Any problem with one eye — such as a cloudy area in the lens (cataract) — can deprive a child of clear vision in that eye. Deprivation amblyopia in infancy requires urgent treatment to prevent permanent vision loss. Deprivation amblyopia often results in the most severe amblyopia.
- Optical Correction
- Occlusion therapy (patching therapy)
- Binocular vision therapy with 3D gaming
- Surgery if required
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