Lazy Eyes

Lazy Eyes

Lazy eye is impaired vision in one eye because the brain and eye are not properly connected. As a result, the power of vision in one eye will decrease while the other eye can see clearly.

Lazy eye or amblyopia occurs in children. This condition causes the quality or focus of vision produced by the two eyes to be different. As a result, the brain will only interpret the visual signals from the good eye and ignore the vision from the impaired eye (lazy eye).

Lazy eye generally occurs from birth to age 7 years. In some rare cases, this disease can attack both eyes.

Causes of Lazy Eyes

Lazy eye occurs when the nerve connection from one eye to the brain is not fully formed during childhood. As a result, the eye with poor vision will send blurred or erroneous visual signals to the brain. Over time, the performance of the two eyes becomes out of sync and the brain ignores signals from the bad eye.

Lazy eye in children can be caused by various conditions, namely:

1. Crossed eyes (strabismus)

Crossed eyes are a condition when the positions of the two eyes are not parallel and look in different directions. In this condition, one eye looks forward and the other eye looks up, down, or sideways. As a result, sufferers cannot focus on one point and often experience double vision.

2. Refractive disorders

This condition occurs due to differences in refraction in the two eyes. As a result, the eye with clearer vision will be used more dominantly to see. Examples of refractive errors are nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism .

3. Cataracts in children

Cataracts cause calcification of the lens in the eye, making vision blurry. If it only occurs in one eye, this condition can trigger lazy eye in children.

4. Other disorders in the eye

Injuries to the cornea or the transparent layer at the front of the eye can cause vision problems and lead to lazy eye. On the other hand, lazy eye can also be triggered by ptosis or drooping eyelids.

Lazy eye risk factors

Apart from the conditions above, there are several factors that can increase the risk of lazy eye, namely:

  • Premature birth
  • Born with a weight below normal
  • Hereditary factors, especially if there is a history of lazy eye in the family
  • Child development disorders

Lazy Eye Symptoms

Children may rarely realize that they suffer from visual impairments, so lazy eye is difficult to detect. Therefore, parents should be aware of the following signs and symptoms:

  • The eyes don't seem to work together
  • One of the eyes often moves inward or outward
  • Children have difficulty estimating distances
  • Children often squint or close one eye when they see
  • Children often tilt their heads in order to see more clearly
  • Poor vision test results

When to see a doctor

Immediately consult a child to the doctor if you notice any signs or symptoms of lazy eyes in children. An eye examination is highly recommended if there is a history of eye disorders in the family, such as crossed eyes or cataracts from an early age.

Lazy Eye Diagnosis

To detect lazy eye in children, parents can do an independent test at home. The examination is carried out by closing one of the child's eyes in turn and asking the child to see an object.

Generally, children will complain if what is covered is a good eye and will not complain if what is covered is a lazy eye. However, to further confirm the diagnosis, parents are advised to have their child examined by a doctor.

In most cases, a doctor can detect lazy eye through a complete eye exam. During the examination, the doctor will give eye drops to dilate the pupils and examine the back of the eye.

Examination methods for diagnosing lazy eye are according to the child's age and developmental stage. In infants and toddlers, the doctor will detect cataracts using a magnifying device. The doctor will also check the ability of babies and toddlers to glance and see moving objects.

Meanwhile, in children aged 3 years and over, the doctor will ask the child to look at pictures or letters using each eye in turn while covering the other eye.

Lazy Eye Treatment

Generally, the chance for a lazy eye to heal is quite high if it is detected and treated as early as possible. In contrast, new treatment given after children are over 6 years old has a lower recovery rate.

Handling lazy eye aims to overcome the cause and teach children to get used to seeing with the eyes affected by this disease. The method of treatment will be carried out according to the severity of the condition and its effect on the child's vision.

Some methods of dealing with lazy eyes that doctors will suggest are:

1. Glasses

The use of glasses can correct lazy eyes caused by refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness , and astigmatism.

2. Blindfold

Treatment of lazy eyes with eye patches is most effective for toddler patients. This therapy is done by applying an eye patch to a normal eye. The goal is to improve vision in lazy eyes.

Eye patches are generally worn for 2–6 hours per day. In some cases, this therapy can be combined with the use of glasses.

3. Special eye drops

This method uses special eye drops that can obscure vision in the normal eye. This will encourage children to use their lazy eye. However, eye drops like these can trigger side effects in the form of increased sensitivity to light or eye irritation.

4. Operation

This procedure is recommended to treat lazy eyes caused by cataracts or crossed eyes. The operation is generally performed with general anesthesia preceded. After undergoing surgery, the child must undergo recovery in the hospital.

In most cases, properly treated lazy eye will heal within a few weeks or months. However, treatment generally needs to be continued for 6 months to 2 years, especially if the patient has a relapse.

Lazy Eye Complications

If left untreated, lazy eye can cause interference with the eyeball muscles that require surgery. Another complication that can occur due to lazy eye is blindness in the lazy eye.

Lazy Eye Prevention

To prevent lazy eye, take your child to the doctor for an eye exam . Examinations can be carried out routinely when children are 6 months, 3 years old, and at school age.

The purpose of an eye examination is to ensure the development of a child's vision and detect as early as possible if a child has vision problems. If during the examination the doctor suspects that the child has lazy eye, treatment can be done immediately.

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