What is Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)?

You probably know this childhood eye condition by its more common name, lazy eye. It happens when the vision of one of your child’s eyes doesn’t develop like it should
If it isn't treated, your child’s brain will learn to ignore the image that comes from that eye. That could harm their vision permanently.
What Causes It?
Amblyopia commonly starts when one eye has much better focus than the other. Sometimes, one is more farsighted or has lots of astigmatism, but the other doesn’t.
When your child's brain gets both a blurry image and a clear one, it starts to ignore the blurry one. If this goes on for months or years in a young child, vision in the blurry eye will get worse.
Sometimes a child’s eyes don’t line up like they should. One could turn in or out. The doctor will call this as strabismus, and it can also lead to amblyopia. Kids who have it can’t focus their eyes together on an image, so they loose their ability to see things in 3 diamentions.
If your child has it, their brain will ignore the image from the eye that isn’t aligned. Vision in that eye will get worse. It’s this misalignment that led to the term "lazy eye."
Some kids can’t see well out of one eye because something is blocking light from getting through. It could be a cataract or drooping of the upper eye lid.
In short amblyopia of lazy eye can be caused by
1) High glasses power in one or both eyes
2) Squint
3) Drooping of eye lids
4) Cataract
How Is Amblyopia Diagnosed?
All children should be tested before they are school-age. Your child's doctor or the vision program at school will check to make sure that:
• Nothing blocks the light coming into their eyes.
• Both eyes see equally well.
• Each eye moves like it should.
If there's any problem, the doctor or school nurse may suggest you to take them to an eye specialist. If you feel something’s wrong with your child's vision -- even if nothing shows up at the vision check -- make an appointment with a pediatric eye doctor.
Some eye care experts say kids should get an eye exam at 6 months, 3 years, and then every year while they’re in school. Ask your doctor what’s right for your child.
Remember, you can’t tell just by looking at them if they have it. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to good results.
How Is It Treated?
The most common method is to force your child’s brain to start using the weak eye. First, the doctor will correct any underlying problems in that eye, like near-sightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Most kids with amblyopia also need glasses to help their eyes focus. If a cataract is blocking light from their eye, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove it.
Then doctor will give them a patch to wear over their strong eye. At first, your kid might have a hard time seeing with just the weak eye. But it’s important to wear the patch. Their vision will get better, though it might take weeks or months for that to happen. Follow the doctor's instructions carefully and bring your child in for scheduled visits so the doctor can see how the treatment is working.
After the doctor says their vision is back to normal, they won’t have to wear the patch all the time.
Other methods to treat lazy eye are
Using drops in good eye which will blur the vision in normal eye so that only lazy eye will work more. Few software and video games are available for lazy eye to be played wit special glasses under observation.
Madhav Netralaya has started a special Lazy eye clinic every Saturday 2-5 PM. In this clinic a team of specially trained doctor and optometrist treat lazy eye kids in a very fun filled way.