Do you know what lazy eye is? This is your treatment

For a few years it has been very common to see children on the street and in schoolyards with an eye patch, apart from other health problems and symptoms, the vast majority suffer from lazy eye. Until that was “discovered” several generations have passed, but there are various treatments for lazy eye or amblyopia in adults.

It is not a serious disease, nor something very strange, in fact, it is much more common than many of us can come to believe. It is our own since childhood, but if it is not detected in time, we grow up with that eye problem all our lives. It has treatment, both in childhood and in adulthood.

What is lazy eye?

To be more specific, the lazy eye is a deviation or misalignment of the eye and affects the decrease in the visual capacity of one or both eyes due to lack of use during the first stages of life or learning period for the brain and the optic nerve (before 8 or 9 years).

This loss of vision is quite significant and develops in the first years of life, as we have said. It consists of a connection failure between the eye and the brain, so that the brain has learned to ignore the vision of the affected eye, since the information it receives from it is confusing.

This puts the visual health of the healthy eye at risk because vision problems caused by age and other factors usually affect the strong and healthy eye first.

It is vitally important that there is optimal visual learning and that both eyes pick up an image as sharp as possible and this is sent to the brain through a strong and stable connection. Otherwise, the brain will cancel the blurred image and only keep the sharp one, so the development will not occur in both eyes and we will lose a lot of vision, hence it is called lazy eye.

Un niño con ojo vago y gafas negras

Why is it produced?

Lazy eye or amblyopia is caused by various factors and all of them can be detected before 10 years of age:

  • Strabismus: it is very evident when a child or adult does not have their eyes aligned, as this ocular problem is one of the causes of lazy eye, precisely because the information sent to the brain is confusing and their visual acuity does not develop. Strabismus occurs when the muscles that surround the eye and help focus do not work as they should.
  • Hyperopia, astigmatism or myopia: when the child or adult suffers from these eye problems, they also most likely suffer from lazy eye due to the refractive defect.
  • Cataracts, darkened cornea, drooping eyelid: 3 other causes that result in a lazy eye, and these retinal diseases interfere with the development of visual acuity, especially at an early age.
  • Anisometry: when there is decompensation of vision loss between the eyes. In this case, the brain will choose only the sharpest image, ignoring the other.

Can it be prevented? This is the big question and the answer is yes and no. On the one hand, we cannot manipulate the genetics of our children, at least not legally, and, on the other hand, lazy eye can be prevented.

It is important to do visual checks in the first years of life, to avoid this type of problem, since the child does not know what it is to “see well”, therefore, he does not know how to differentiate. There are some home tests to detect visual problems and especially depth, but it is best to go to a professional.

Lazy eye symptoms

At an early age it is important to look at how our child looks, and also in adults, or even analyze ourselves and be able to detect abnormalities in vision. Here are some symptoms of lazy eye or amblyopia:

  • Squinting your eyes.
  • Blinking excessively.
  • Rub your eyes to see better.
  • Difficulty calculating distances and depths.
  • Devious eye.
  • Headaches after a lot of visual effort.
  • Close one eye to be able to see or focus.
  • Poor general vision or poor vision in one eye.
  • It is difficult for the child to point to something with one eye closed.
  • They are usually children who stumble often.
  • They do not usually like sports where there are objects at high speed and you have to hit them or you have to shoot.
  • They find it difficult to catch things “on the fly”.
  • They have bad reflexes.

Una mujer con ojo vago que usa gafas

Possible treatments to cure amblyopia

We have said that this visual problem should be detected in the early stages of early childhood education, but if it has not been, there are still some effective treatments.

Cure lazy eye in children

Minors have a series of treatments that are usually very effective and are the following:

  • Patch: the good eye is covered and glasses are placed to enhance vision in the affected eye. This treatment varies according to the professional who dictates it, since sometimes the good eye remains covered for weeks, other times only a few hours, in other cases the patch alternates between the eyes, etc.
  • Drops to dilate: in order to trick the brain, a few drops are put in to dilate the pupil in the good eye, glasses are put on and little by little the development of the optic nerve and the visual capacity of the lazy eye are enhanced.
  • Altering the graduation of the glasses: there are cases in adolescents and adults in which the patch does not work, so it is chosen to alter the graduation of the glass of the good eye, so that the development of the eye with amblyopia is forced.

Treatments for lazy eye in adults

We adults are a full stop, where surgery is not as effective as it is in adolescents, for example. Still, that option is the last thing to go for. Adults have a couple of treatments apart from the alteration of the prescription of the glasses that we have commented previously.

  • Bangerter filters: consists of translucent filters that are placed in the glasses as maintenance to fight against lazy eye.
  • Eye exercises: this therapy is effective in children and adults, as long as the exercises are strictly adhered to. As we have said, lazy eye is a problem of visual development, so these exercises will force that development through simple and basic exercises, some even with the computer or with a simple pencil.