What Is Lazy eye?
Amblyopia is commonly known as lazy eye and is a childhood eye condition. When a child’s eye does not develop in a normal manner, this condition occurs where the vision is reduced in one eye. The lazy or the weaker eye wanders outwards or inwards.
Children usually cannot see like adults do. Their brain must learn how to see and interpret the signals received from their eyes. Usually, it takes around 3-5 years before a child can see as clearly as an adult and up to 7 years before the eyes and vision of the child is developed fully. Usually, lazy eye develops due to some abnormal visual experience during infancy or childhood that affects the nerve pathways between the retina of the eye and the brain. When the eye is developing, if something affects one of the eyes, the signals from the eye to the brain gets hampered.
The weaker eye does not get strong visuals and gradually, both the eyes stop working together and the brain stops or suppresses the signals and images from the weaker eye. If the condition of the eye is left untreated, the brain will start ignoring the image that it receives from the particular eye and this can damage the child’s vision permanently. The condition of amblyopia usually occurs when a child is born until 7 years of age and it is becoming a leading cause of reduced vision in one of the eyes of children. Lazy eye rarely affects both the eyes.
The problem of lazy eye can be corrected by making use of glasses, contact lenses or eye patches. If these treatments don’t help, surgery may be required to treat the condition.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lazy eye?
Some of the symptoms of lazy eye are:
- Eyes don’t seem to work together
- Inward or outward wandering of the eye
- Shutting one eye or squinting
- Tilting the head
- Poor perception of depth
- Vision screening test results usually abnormal
What Are The Causes Of Lazy eye?
Anything that causes the child’s eyes to turn out or cross or anything that obstructs and blurs the child’s vision may cause lazy eye.
Other common causes of lazy eye are:
- Muscle imbalance or strabismus is when the muscles that position the eyes get imbalanced. The imbalance in the muscles causes the eye to turn out or cross in and hampers them from working in a coordinated manner.
- If a child has a squint and one eye looks straight, while the other looks up, down, right or left, the brain receives two different signals, which it cannot combine and this causes lazy eye.
- Deprivation, which is caused due to a cloudy portion in the lens i.e. a cataract that can cause the vision of the child to be unclear. Deprivation amblyopia that occurs during infancy requires immediate treatment, failing which it can cause permanent vision loss. The most severe form of lazy eye is caused due to deprivation amblyopia.
- Refractive anisometropia or the difference in the sharpness of vision between the two eyes mostly due to the condition of farsightedness and sometimes because of near sightedness or due to astigmatism (an imperfection on the surface of the eye) can cause lazy eye.
- Sometimes, the lazy eye can be caused due to a combination of both refractive problems and strabismus.
- Droopy eyelid or ptosis.
- Corneal ulcer or sore on the transparent layer of the eye.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Lazy eye?
- Eye exercises prescribed by the doctor can help to strengthen the eye muscles and so, you must do the eye exercises regularly.
- If the doctor recommends wearing an eye patch, using corrective glasses or contact lenses, wear them regularly without fail.
- Encourage children to do coloring exercises as this is a very good exercise for lazy eye.
- Reduce any irritation in the eye and wash the eye thoroughly.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Lazy eye?
- Don’t ignore the condition of a lazy eye, it will not go away on its own. Leaving the lazy eye condition untreated can lead to permanent loss of vision. So, you must get the problem of the lazy eye treated at the earliest.
- Don’t miss out the medication prescribed by the doctor and use them regularly to treat the lazy eye condition.
- Do not watch the television, computer-screen and mobile phone screens for a long time.
What Are The Best Foods For Lazy eye?
- Vitamin A deficiency can lead to many eye-related problems. So, having foods like vegetables, sweet potatoes, carrots, dried apricots, bell peppers, liver and tropical fruits can help to treat deficiency of vitamin A. While the foods cannot directly treat the lazy eye condition, it can help to reduce problems like near sightedness and far sightedness.
- Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, chard, etc. as they help to improve eyesight and can help to strengthen the eye muscles.
- Carrots contain beta-carotene and can help to improve the eye health and also reduce the damage caused by the sun to your eyes.
- Have a diet rich in citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, grapefruit as they are rich in vitamin C and help to keep your eyes healthy and can help to fight the lazy eye condition.
- Omega-3 fatty acids can help to protect the blood vessels in the eyes. So, eat foods like walnuts, flaxseeds, avocados, oily fish like mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines, etc. that are rich in these “good” fats.
What Are The Worst Foods For Lazy eye?
- Avoid refined, processed food and junk food like chips, fries, candy, ice creams, cakes, pastries and sugary beverages as they can worsen the lazy eye condition.
What Are The Medicines For Lazy eye?
What Are The Tips To Manage Lazy eye?
- Encourage the use of the eye patch as this can help to treat the lazy eye condition effectively. If your child is embarrassed to wear the eye patch, speak and counsel him/her and make them understand that the treatment will help them in the long run.
- If you find it difficult to get your child wear the eye patch, then you could use a system of rewards or awarding stars to encourage the use of the eye patch.
- Doing the right kind of exercises can help the lazy eye condition like focusing, rolling, tracking etc. Reading very small print will also help to exercise the lazy eye.
- Playing video games can help to improve the hand and eye coordination and can help the lazy eye condition.
- If all ways of treatment for a lazy eye have been tried and if there is no relief, then you can look at corrective surgery as an option.