The patch that heals: amblyopia or lazy eye

Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, is a pathology that affects one of the two eyes, preventing it from achieving correct visual acuity. It usually appears between 2 and 7 years of age. It is at this stage of development that the connection between the eyes and the brain is consolidated. Due to certain factors, which we will see below, this connection can be altered in one of the two eyes. From that moment on, the brain will begin to ignore the information from the affected eye and will only process the information from the healthy eye as good.

What causes the lazy eye?

As we have indicated, it is a condition that appears during childhood and there are several factors that can trigger its development.

  • Strabismus: We speak of strabismus when there is a gaze deviation, that is, the eyes do not work in sync and are unable to focus at the same point. In this case, the brain, to avoid double vision, keeps only the information from the dominant eye and eliminates the information from the other.
  • High refractive defect: Refractive errors are those that affect visual acuity and prevent images from focusing correctly. We refer to myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism. When this defect is very high in one of the two eyes, the same thing happens as in the case of strabismus: the brain gradually eliminates the information coming from this eye and only remains with that of the healthy eye.
  • Cataract or opacification of the cornea: It can also occur that one of the two eyes has a problem of opacification, which prevents the correct entry of light, and therefore also of the images. It would be the case of the existence of a congenital cataract -of birth- or of a corneal lesion or pathology that affects its transparency. This fact will cause the brain to cancel the information in this eye, since the information provided will not be irrelevant.

How can we detect its appearance?

The best way to detect if a child suffers from this pathology is through an ophthalmological examination. After 18 months, the first controls can be carried out to, among other things, detect a possible strabismus.

Still, there are certain behaviors that should alert us and make us react quickly:

-If we see that the child crosses his gaze or tilts his head to focus on an object.

-If he presents exaggerated photophobia, that is, sensitivity to light.

-If we see that he covers one eye to focus.

-If you complain of headaches.

In any case, the best option is a complete routine and preventive revision from the age of 2 to prevent both this and other visual defects that may appear during childhood.

Can amblyopia be treated and eliminated?

In the case of lazy eye, early detection is very important. This will be a key factor in achieving the fullest possible recovery. That is, the longer you go without receiving the appropriate treatment, the more difficult it will be to reestablish the eye-brain connection.

Therefore, there is treatment but its success will be linked to how soon we start applying it.

The treatment itself will depend on the underlying cause that is causing the amblyopia. If there is a congenital cataract or an incipient strabismus, the first step will be to try to eliminate these pathologies. In the case of no previous pathology, the treatment will consist of forcing the vision with the affected eye. When we see children with one eye covered with a patch, contrary to what people usually think, it is really the healthy eye. In this way, the connection with the brain of the amblyopic eye is regenerated.

Both the duration of treatment and the hours that the patch must be worn continuously each day will depend on the degree of initial condition. There will be cases that will have to be worn all day for a long time and others in which it will only be necessary to wear it for a few hours for a few months.

If after reading this post you have any questions, we invite you to send them to us through the usual channels.