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Amblyopia or lazy eye

What Is It?

What is “lazy eye”?

“Lazy eye”, or amblyopia, is caused by low vision in one or both eyes due to lack of use during a child’s visual development (approx. before the age of eight). It is a disorder that originates in childhood, but can continue into adulthood, if it is not diagnosed and treated early.

What causes it?

The main causes are:

Strabismus: when the eyes are misaligned and point in different directions, the child’s brain, which has a great ability to adapt, suppresses vision in one eye to counter the abnormality and prevent double vision.

Refractive error: when a child has hyperopia, astigmatism or myopia, the image that reaches the brain lacks sharpness, resulting in the brain selecting the vision of the eye with less refractive error.

Cataracts, ptosis (drooping eyelid), retinal diseases: other diseases that interfere with the proper development of vision in children.

How can it be prevented?

All children should undergo an ophthalmic examination to detect for amblyopia before the age of three. Early diagnosis is vital to ensure that “lazy eye” is treated properly and to prevent the condition from continuing into adulthood.

A paediatric ophthalmologist can perform an examination to detect for this disorder at any age, however small and uncooperative the child.

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