Lazy Eye : Strabismus And Amblyopia - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India
Health Education

Lazy Eye : Strabismus And Amblyopia

Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi profile Authored by Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi on 12 Aug 2014 - 17:54.

An infant up to the third month, does not have a focused sight and wanders now and then. In other words the child may not have developed coordinated movements of both eyes. By the age of three months the child should normally learn how to coordinate movements by using both eyes together while focusing on an object.

Should it happen that your child despite being more than three months is unable to coordinate eye movements and her eyes continue to wander or appear crossed, it is time for you to consult a pediatrician. The child will be referred further to an ophthalmologist to rule out a condition called Strabismus (Misaligned Eyes) or Amblyopia (Lazy Eye). Both these conditions can be treated.

Identification of the condition: In a normal child, the movements of the eyeballs have a synergistic pattern and both the eyeballs move in the same direction to appreciate an object. However, in cases of strabismus one eye may seem to drift inward, outward or upwards as if each eye is looking at different directions. In such cases it is believed that the child’s brain is just unable to coordinate the movements of both eyes correctly.

Causes of Strabismus: In some children the muscles that help movements of the eyes in a particular direction like upward, inwards or downwards might either become weak or inactive causing crossed movements in the eyes. Farsightedness is yet another cause for such a possibility. All these conditions cause strabismus.

Strabismus, otherwise known as squint can run in families. It can also appear in babies with no family history of strabismus. About 2 to 4 percent of all children might get affected by this disorder. It is believed to affect premature babies more than full term babies. It can occur as early as the first few months after birth.

A true case of strabismus, if not detected or acted upon quickly, might lead to the possibility that the child can never be able to use the eyes together. The depth of perception might alter or get damaged and the child might lose much of the vision in the weaker eye. Therefore, it is highly important to bring it to the notice of an ophthalmologist as soon as you have noticed a problem in the eyes of your child.

In some fortunate babies the problem might go away on its own as the eye muscles get stronger and stronger and the brain learns to control them in a coordinated pattern.

Treatment: If the problem still persists, your child may needsurgery, ideally done between the ages of 6 and 18 months. Surgery involves adjustment of the position of the muscles that control the movements of the eyeball so as to correctly align the position and movements in a synchronized manner.

Strabismus due to farsightedness can be corrected with glasses of appropriate power, once the child is old enough.

Amblyopia or Lazy Eye is a similar problem in which the brain shuts off or suppresses vision in one eye. When the baby’s eyes are misaligned or there is farsighted or nearsightedness, the baby’s brain receives signals from only one eye keeping the other eye lazy. About 5 percent of children develop amblyopia due to strabismus. If the condition is not recognized early or when treatment is postponed or neglected, the condition can result in permanent loss of vision in the lazy eye.

Identification of the problem: The biggest problem lies in identifying the problem, that too as early as possible. The affected child about whom you are not aware of the problem can get along fine using only one eye and the lazy eye might look perfectly normal to you, though in reality the baby is not using it to see objects.

The pediatrician may cover one of baby’s eyes and watch to see if the other eye is following the movements of a moving finger in front of his eyes. In most cases the problem remains unrecognized until the first visit to an ophthalmologist at age 3 or 4.

Treatment: Usually ophthalmologists try to cover the normally functioning eye with a view to strengthening the muscles of the lazy eye. If the baby indulges in removing the obstacle the doctor may even try to blur the normal eye with some eye drops so that the other eye can be trained to strengthen the muscles and force the brain to use the lazy eye.

However, this process may take weeks, months or even years to give appreciable results. The trials may altogether fail warranting the use of surgical procedures to correct the malady to the extent possible depending on when the diagnosis is made and when other methods have failed.

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.