Lazy eye or amblyopia is a disturbance of eyesight in children, because the brain and eyes are not well connected, resulting in decreased vision.
The presence of lazy eyes in the child will cause the quality or focus of the vision produced by the two different eyes. In effect, the brain will only translate the vision of a good eye and ignore the vision of the eye that is experiencing interference (lazy eye). If not handled properly, lazy eyes may suffer blindness.
Lazy eyes generally occur from birth to age 7 years. In some rare cases, the disease can affect both eyes.
Symptoms of Lazy eye
Children rarely know that they suffer from impaired vision or cannot explain it, so lazy eyes include conditions that are difficult to detect. Therefore, parents should be aware of the following symptoms and clinical signs:
- Visible eyes do not work at the same time.
- One eye often moves towards the inside or outside (juling).
- Children are difficult to estimate distances.
- One eye looks more squinted than others.
- The child often tilts the head to see more clearly.
- Difficulty seeing 3-dimensional objects.
- Poor vision test results.
If the parents are aware of the symptoms of lazy eyes, should immediately have a child checked into the ophthalmologist.
Causes of Lazy eyes
Lazy eyes occur when a nerve connection from one eye to the brain is not formed perfectly in childhood. Poor vision eyes will send a blurred or mistaken visual signal to the brain. Gradually, the performance of both eyes becomes out of sync and the brain ignores the signal from the bad eye.
Lazy eyes can happen to a child triggered by various things. Some of them are:
- Eye squeal (strabismus). This is the most trigger of lazy eyes. This condition is often derived genetically in the family.
- Refractive disorder, which is the presence of refractive differences in both eyes, so that the eyes with clearer vision will be dominant to see. Examples of refractive disorders are long-sightedness, near-sightedness, and astigmatism.
- Cataract in children. Cataracts cause a blur in the lens of the eye, thus disrupting vision. If it occurs only in one eye, it can trigger a lazy eye in the child.
- Wounds on the cornea of the eye. The wound in the front of the eyes (corneal ulcer) can cause visual impairment and trigger a lazy eye in the child.
- Drooping eyelids, preventing
Besides the above triggers, there are several factors that could potentially increase the risk of lazy eyes on a child. Among them are:
- Premature births.
- Babies born with weight below normal.
- Hereditary factors, especially if there is a lazy eye history in
- Child developmental Disorders.
Lazy Eye Diagnosis
Most children who experience lazy eyes are unaware if one of their eyes is experiencing vision problems, especially early childhood. Parents can estimate whether the child is experiencing lazy eyes or not by observing the lazy eye symptoms mentioned above. Parents can also do simple tests to make sure that their children are suspected of suffering from lazy eyes or not, by closing one of their eyes in turns. The child will complain if the one covered is a good eye, and will not complain if the covered is a lazy eye. However, to determine whether or not the child is experiencing the disease, parents are strongly advised to have their children checked in to the doctor.
At the time the child is examined, the doctor will check to ensure the condition of the child’s eye and vision, namely that:
- Both eyes can see equally well.
- Nothing prevents the entry of light into the inside of the eye.
- Both eyes move simultaneously and align with each other.
An eye exam can be done routinely when a child is 6 months old, 3 years, and at school age to ensure the development of his vision. If at the time of examination, the doctor suspects the child suffers from lazy eye, then the treatment will begin.
Lazy Eye Treatment
The severity of the lazy eye and its impact on child vision will determine the appropriate treatment step. Generally if the lazy eye is diagnosed as early as possible, the success rate is quite good. Treatment that begins at the age of children over 6 years has a lower success rate.
The principle of treatment of lazy eye is two, which is between forcing the use of lazy eye to see, or treating the condition that causes the disease. Some of the treatments that doctors will advise are:
- Use of glasses. In the early days, most children would refuse to use a special eye-specific eyewear, as it felt the vision was better without the tool. Parents are encouraged to always keep their children with lazy eye-specific spectacles, so that the treatment can work well.
- Use of blindfold. This appliance is paired to a normal eye to stimulate lazy eyes, in order to develop a developmental look. Just like the use of glasses, in the early period of therapy, children sometimes refuse to use the blindfold, because it is uncomfortable in seeing. This is most effective for toddler sufferers, and the blindfold is generally worn for 2-6 hours per day. Eye-Cover therapy can be combined with the use of glasses.
- Special eye drops, which can obscure the normal eye view. This will encourage children to use their lazy eye. However, eye drops like this could potentially trigger side effects of eye irritation, reddish skin, as well as headaches.
- Operating. This procedure is recommended to deal with cataracts and squing eyes that trigger lazy eyes. Surgery is generally done in the case of unconscious children after being given total anaesthesia. After surgery, the child must undergo hospitalisation as part of the recovery. While it could not be a hundred percent improved visual ability, the eye would become more synchronous, so its performance increased.