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Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye , is the medical term that refers to when one eye’s vision is reduced due to the brain and the eye not working in sync together as they should. Even though the eye looks normal, it is not working normally; the brain favors the other eye. This condition is more commonly known as lazy eye.
Lazy eye occurs when there is poor transmission or no transmission of the entire image being viewed by the brain for a substantial amount of time of poor functioning or during a child’s early years. Normally Amblyopia only affects one eye; however, it is not unheard of for a person to be amblyopic in both eyes. Dual amblyopia occurs if both eyes are deprived of clear visual images. Treatment is most successful if the condition is detected early in childhood.

While the more common phrase, "lazy eye" is commonly used when referring to amblyopia; this term is not accurate since there is absolutely nothing lazy about either the amblyope or the eye involved with this condition. The term is not exact; in simple terms "lazy eye" is also used to incorrectly describe strabismus, specifically exotropia.

Many people who are mildly inflicted with amblyopia don’t even know they have the condition. Since the “good eye’s” vision is strong it goes undetected and not realized until tested at an older age. However, for people having a severe case of amblyopia one of the more notable visual disorders associated with it is poor depth perception.

Amblyopes can suffer from:

  • Low Sensitivity to Contrast
  • Poor Spatial Acuity
  • Vision has an Increased Level of Deficits (some) – reduced sensitivity to motion with the associated deficits usually being specific to an amblyopic eye.

Problems Amblyopes Also Suffer:

  • Binocular Vision – stereoscopic depth perception is limited
  • Autostereograms – Difficulty seeing images in three-dimension (hidden stereoscopic displays).

However, depth perception from monocular signals is normal, for example; perspective, size, and motion parallax.

What Causes Amblyopia?

  • Deprivation of vision early in life by obstructing disorders.
    • Strabismus (crossed eyes)
    • Congenital cataracts
    • Anisometropia (each eye’s different levels of hyperopia or myopia).
  • Physiologically after alcohol or tobacco consumption.

Form Deprivation Amblyopia:

  • Amblyopia Ex Anopsia occurs when the ocular media becomes opaque, similar to what happens with cataracts. This opacity prevents normal visual input from reaching the eye, thus disrupting the development. If this is not treated in accordingly, amblyopia may continue to be present even after the reason for the opacity is removed. Sometimes, ptosis (drooping of the eyelid) or other problems cause a child’s upper eyelid(s) to physically obscure the vision, which could cause amblyopia to occur quickly.
  • Occlusion Amblyopia occurs from a complication of a hemangioma blocking some, or the eye’s entire path of vision.

Treatment of Anisometropic Amblyopia:

  • To correct the optical deficit and force the use of the amblyopic eye:
    • Patching the good eye (Instills Topical Atropine in the eye with better vision). Eye doctors are take care not to over-patch or over-penalize the good eye. Over treating for amblyopia in one eye can possibly create "reverse amblyopia" in the other eye.
  • Special prescription eyeglasses with prisms embedded in the lens to displace an object and trick the eye, working the muscle.
  • Surgery may be required if all other treatment fails. During surgery part of the muscle is removed shortening it to omit any drifting of the eye.
To treat Form DeprivationAmblyopia the opacity is removed as soon as possible then followed-up with placing a patch over the “good eye” so the amblyopic eye must work harder and thus become stronger resulting in better vision in the “bad eye”.

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