Lazy Eye

Lazy Eye Lethbridge

What is Amblyopia

Amblyopia is an ocular problem most commonly referred to as lazy eye. It is a leading cause of vision loss in children and results in decreased vision in one or both eyes. This is due to abnormal vision development during infancy, where nerve pathways between the brain and the retina are altered.

Causes of Lazy Eye

A lazy eye develops due to poor visual experiences early on in life which result in the nerve pathways between the brain and the retina being under-stimulated. Common causes of amblyopia include:

  • Muscle imbalance - If the muscles which position the eyes are imbalanced, this can cause one eye to turn out or cross inwards, stopping the eyes from properly coordinating.
  • Deprivation - Any problem with one eye (such as the development of cataracts) which prevents proper vision in one eye can result in a lazy eye. This requires immediate attention to prevent vision loss.
  • Difference in vision - A significant difference in the vision/prescription of the eyes can result in amblyopia.

Amblyopia Risk Factors

There are several factors which are associated with a higher risk of developing amblyopia such as:

  • Premature birth
  • Small size at birth
  • A family history of amblyopia
  • Developmental disabilities

Diagnosis of Amblyopia

Our highly-trained optometrists are able to conduct a comprehensive eye exam to diagnose amblyopia. During this vision test, they check for:

  • Wandering eye
  • A difference in vision between the eyes
  • Poor vision in one or both eyes
  • Ocular health

Treatment of Amblyopia

If left untreated, amblyopia can often lead to vision loss. Therefore, early detection and management is extremely important. There are several treatment options available depending on the cause of amblyopia and the severity of the condition. These include:

  • Prescription Eyewear - To correct refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism which may lead to the development of lazy eye.
  • Eye Patch - It may be recommended that your child wear an eye patch over their dominant eye for 2-6 hours a day, to help strengthen the weaker eye.
  • Eye Drops - These will temporarily blur the vision of the dominant eye, encouraging the patient to use their weaker eye.
  • Eye Surgery - If your child’s eyes cross inwards or wander apart, eye surgery can repair and strengthen the eye muscles to improve vision.

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