What is Amblyopia?

ID-100127789Amblyopia is a disorder of the visual system of the eye, which (the visual disorder) is characterized by poor vision or lack of vision in the affected eye, which is otherwise physically normal. Sometimes there may be structural abnormalities, but the visual disorder is out of proportion of the structural abnormality. Amblyopia is also known as “lazy eye” which is a misnomer, because there is no laziness involved in amblyopia. It is estimated that amblyopia affects approximately 1% to 5% of the population and is fairly common eye problem.

What is the underlying cause of amblyopia?

The basic cause or underlying pathology of amblyopia is failure of transmission (or poor transmission) of visual stimulation through optic nerve (the nerve which transmits the visual signals to the brain). Amblyopia commonly affect during early childhood and results in poor vision or dim vision. Most commonly amblyopia affects only one eye, but sometimes may affect both eyes. The problem of poor vision or dim vision should be diagnosed early during childhood to improve outcome of treatment.

Amblyopia is a developmental problem of brain and not a problem in the eye. Sometimes amblyopia may be due to organic problem in the eyes, which generally resolve after the organic problem is addressed and managed appropriately. Generally there is damage to the vision center of the brain and result in amblyopia.

What are the symptoms of amblyopia?

The symptoms of amblyopia include poor visual acuity, poor depth perception, reduced contrast sensitivity, reduced sensitivity to motion etc. The symptoms mentioned here are for the affected eye only. As amblyopia mainly involves one eye, the binocular vision suffers and the patient may not be able to see three dimensional images properly. Monocular vision is usually normal.

Amblyopia may be mild in some patients and they may not be even aware of the problem they have. Mild cases of amblyopia may be detected during routine eye check ups at an older age.

Patients of amblyopia should be treated adequately and early for best results. Treatment of amblyopia is usually satisfactory if treated early and adequately.

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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