Amblyopia is commonly referred to as lazy eye, characterized by decreased vision in one or both eyes (bilateral amblyopia).
When we are born our vision is not fully developed. From birth through 6-9 years of age, our eyes develop drastically. If one of our eyes suffers from poor development during this period, the brain will begin to favor the stronger eye and ignore images from the other. Over time this results in poor vision without treatment.
This eye condition presents itself in approximately 3% of Canadians. Amblyopia typically develops in infancy or early childhood.
Those with mild forms of amblyopia may not know they have the condition until they are tested later in life.
Symptoms of amblyopia present as:
It can be difficult to notice the signs of amblyopia when they present during early childhood or infancy. The most obvious symptom – misaligned eyes – is not always there, making it difficult for parents to know if their child has amblyopia. This difficulty is amplified by the inability for young children to properly articulate what they are experiencing with their vision.
The best way to know if your child has amblyopia is through an eye exam, the first one being before they are 18 months old.
As is with many conditions that affect the eye, amblyopia is best addressed via early detection and treatment. If we can see your child early in their life (1-5 years old) for an eye exam, we can catch and treat amblyopia before vision damage is caused to the poorly developed eye.
If you are concerned you or your child has strabismus (or a vision issue of any kind), book an eye exam with one of our Optometrists.