Can optometrist treat amblyopia?
What is the best treatment for amblyopia?
How long does it take to correct amblyopia?
Amblyopia, also called lazy eye, is a disorder of sight due to the eye and brain not working well together. It results in decreased vision in an eye that otherwise typically appears normal. It is the most common cause of decreased vision in a single eye among children and younger adults.
The cause of Amblyopia can be any condition that interferes with focusing during early childhood. This can occur from poor alignment of the eyes, an eye being irregularly shaped such that focusing is difficult, one eye being more nearsighted or farsighted than the other, or clouding of the lens of an eye. After the underlying cause is fixed, vision is not restored right away, as the mechanism also involves the brain. Amblyopia can be difficult to detect, so vision testing is recommended for all children around the ages of four to five.
Low price is one of the most important features of Amblyopia in Iran. This is because the cost is less than 100 to 300 percent of the price of Amblyopia in Europe, Turkey, Qatar and the United States, while maintaining the same efficiency. Most surgeons in Iran have high experience in eye surgery.
Most Iranian surgeons graduate from reputable American and European universities and have enough experience to do so.
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Causes of Amblyopia
Amblyopia is generally the result of poor visual development during the early years of an individual’s life. It usually occurs before the age of 8. Infants born prematurely or with low birth weight show a greater risk of developing this condition. Brain does not fully acknowledge the images seen by the amblyopic eye. This can be due to a reduction in the amount of light entering the eye, a lack of focus in the eye or confusion between the eyes – where the two images are not the same such as a squint (a condition in which the eyes don’t look in the same direction).
Our eyes function like a camera. An image enters through the lens of each eye and is focused onto the retina which is a light sensitive layer of tissue. The retina translates the image into nerve signals that are sent to the brain. The brain then combines the signals from each eye into a three-dimensional image. The end result of all forms of amblyopia is reduced vision in the affected eye. If left untreated, vision loss occurs due to the improper stimulation of nerve pathways between the brain and the eye.
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Symptoms of Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
Amblyopia (lazy eye) does not usually cause symptoms. Younger children are often unaware that there is anything wrong with their vision and, even if they are, they usually fail to describe their condition unlike the older children who may voice their concerns regarding the inability to see clearly through one eye. In some cases one eye may look different from the other. However, this is usually a sign of another condition that could lead to a lazy eye, such as Strabismus (squint). Strabismus is condition in which the eyes don’t look in the same direction.
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Types of Amblyopia:
There are usually three different types of Amblyopia seen among people:
Strabismic amblyopia develops when the eyes are not straight, wherein the eye may turn in, out, up or down. In such a condition, the brain begins to ignore, or “turns off” the eye that is not straight resulting in reduced vision in that eye.
Deprivation amblyopia develops when cataracts or similar conditions “deprive” young children’s eyes of visual experience. If not treated very early, these children never learn to see well and can have very poor vision. Sometimes this kind of amblyopia can affect both eyes.
Refractive amblyopia is observed in cases where there is a large or unequal amount of refractive error between a child’s eyes in which the brain learns how to see well from the eye that has less need for glasses and does not learn to see well from the eye that has a greater need for glasses. The vision problem may not be easily identifiable as the child does not complain of blurred vision so long as the good eye compensates for the lack of vision in the amblyopic eye. Also, the eye affected with Amblyopia may not look much different from the normal eye. Hence, because the child’s eyes look normal, parents and physician may not suspect that there could be a problem. For these reasons, this kind of amblyopia in children may not be detected until the child has a vision test. Refractive Amblyopia can affect one or both eyes and can be best helped if the problem is detected early.
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Amblyopia treatment in Iran at Sanjeevan is designed in such a way that they help the entire visual apparatus (the lens, ciliary muscles, retina and the optic nerve) to relax and re-gain enough strength to recover from Amblyopia. Our treatment helps to improve visual acuity with improvement in the three dimensional vision and also depth perception. It also focuses on conditioning the optic pathway of the amblyopic eye.If lazy eye treatment is not begun as early as possible, several problems can develop that can seriously affect vision from childhood into adulthood. Some of these complications include the development of serious and permanent visual defect; loss of depth perception (seeing in three dimensions) as 3D vision requires a good vision in both eyes; possibility of a lifetime of poor vision if the stronger eye becomes diseased or injured.Since the main causes of Amblyopia are Strabismic – by strabismus (misaligned eyes), refractive – by anisomertropia (high degrees of near sightedness, far sightedness or astigmatism in one or both eyes) and deprivational – by deprivation of vision early in life due to disorders that obstruct the vision such as congenital cataract; we treat the symptoms of each of these causes which mainly arises from optical defect. Hence, we treat the optical defect in the eye.
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Is there a way to fix amblyopia?
The amblyopia is treatable and typically responds well to strategies such as eye patching and wearing corrective lenses. The best results for lazy eye are typically seen when the condition is treated early, in children who are 7 years old or younger.
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Ophthalmologists diagnose amblyopia by checking to see if vision differs between the two eyes. To check a baby's or young child's vision, the ophthalmologist may cover one of the child's eyes and watch how well they can follow a moving object. The doctor may also watch how the child reacts when one eye is covered. If one eye has amblyopia and the other is covered, the child may try to look above or below the patch, pull it off or cry.
The ophthalmologist will do a complete medical eye exam, looking for other eye problems that could be affecting vision.
Poor vision in one eye does not always mean a child has amblyopia. In some cases, wearing glasses to correct a refractive error in one eye can improve vision.
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Eye drops with a medication called atropine, which blurs the strong eye so your child won't need to wear a patch. This also forces their brain to use the weak eye. A Bangerter filter worn over the eyeglass lens of the stronger eye to blur their vision so they have to use the weak eye.
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For most children with lazy eye, proper treatment improves vision within weeks to months. Treatment might last from six months to two years.
It's important for your child to be monitored for recurrence of lazy eye which can happen in up to 25 percent of children with the condition. If lazy eye recurs, treatment will need to start again.
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