Some visual impairments may not appear until adult or advanced age. Children also suffer from visual disturbances that affect both eyes or, as in amblyopia, only one eye.
What is amblyopia?
In amblyopia, sharp, contoured and high-contrast vision is extremely limited, which is reflected in an impairment of the visual perception of those affected.
According to SCIENCEDICT.COM, the term amblyopia has an important meaning in ophthalmology and describes a visual impairment that primarily only relates to a single eye. Due to the visual impairment that occurs, amblyopia is also categorized as low vision , which is usually very intense.
In amblyopia, sharp, contoured and high-contrast vision is extremely limited, which is reflected in an impairment of the visual perception of those affected. Amblyopia typically occurs in children who are under ten years old. As a rule, amblyopia is not recognized immediately and can be compensated for by the better seeing eye.
The causes that can lead to amblyopia in childhood are not organic. That is, the anatomical components of the eyes are completely healthy and fully developed.
The causes of blurred vision in amblyopia are the opacity of the lens or cornea that occurs in cataracts, cataracts or astigmatism . If there is extremely developed myopia or farsightedness, this can also promote amblyopia. If one eye is crossed, this is also a cause of amblyopia. If the eyeball is covered by ptosis , a drooping eyelid, this abnormality can cause amblyopia.
The actual factor that contributes to amblyopia based on the various causes is a blurred image of the image on the visual pit, which is located in the middle of the yellow spot.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
Because of amblyopia, people generally have severe visual impairments. Above all, these occur very unexpectedly and for no particular reason. Amblyopia can lead to severe limitations and delays in development , especially in children .
Many of those affected suffer from depression or other psychological disorders as a result of the sudden visual problems . Amblyopia leads either to nearsightedness or to farsightedness . Visual acuity generally decreases, and contours and contrasts can no longer be properly perceived. Those affected also have difficulty writing or reading.
Spatial vision is also negatively influenced by amblyopia, so that coordination or orientation can also be disturbed . The quality of life of the patient is thus significantly restricted and reduced by amblyopia. In most cases, these visual problems cannot be treated directly and therefore cannot be reversed.
Those affected are therefore always dependent on visual aids in their lives. If vision aids are not worn, symptoms will in most cases worsen and the person’s eyesight will deteriorate further. The reduced eyesight may lead to restrictions in everyday life for the person affected despite the use of visual aids.
Diagnosis & course
If the children have impaired vision, covering one of the two eyes can provide information about whether and in which eye there is amblyopia. A very clear diagnosis of amblyopia is made possible by an eye test carried out by an ophthalmologist in relation to the existing visual strength of the eyes. The children read different letters or signs with alternately covered eyes.
As part of a diagnosis of amblyopia, further ophthalmological examinations are carried out, which aim at an exclusion diagnosis of tumors or a retinoblastoma . Malignant retinoblastomas or optic nerve tumors can develop before the child is 3 years old and cause amblyopia.
With amblyopia there is visual disturbance. These usually only occur in one eye and can lead to severe problems, especially in children. Amblyopia also puts a strain on the psyche, which can lead to stress and depression. The visual disturbances can show up either as farsightedness or nearsightedness.
Most of the time, patients do not see objects clearly and cannot perceive outlines properly. This leads to problems with orientation , writing and reading. Spatial imagination and seeing in space are also restricted and not easily possible.
Typically, amblyopia can be treated either with the use of visual aids or surgery. It leads to success for most people. The so-called strabismus can occur here as a complication. This leads to bullying and teasing, especially among children.
If the therapy does not take place in time, the symptom can lead to consequential damage in adulthood, which can no longer be corrected properly. For this reason, parents should see an ophthalmologist with their children at an early age.
When should you go to the doctor?
Since amblyopia usually leads to various visual problems and visual impairments, these should definitely be treated by a doctor. In this way, complications and complaints in adulthood can be avoided. As a rule, a doctor must then be consulted if the child has visual problems or impaired vision due to amblyopia. An eye test should be carried out.
This test shows very well whether the child’s eyesight has changed. Most of the time, nearsightedness or farsightedness occurs, which can be treated with glasses or contact lenses. In adulthood, the person concerned can also have a laser correction carried out if this is desired. It is important that amblyopia is treated at an early stage so that the visual problems do not worsen. It is not uncommon for this disease to lead to disorientation or to weaknesses in reading and writing. If these symptoms occur, the parents and their child must definitely see a doctor.
Treatment & Therapy
Treatment of amblyopia is usually sought before puberty is reached . The type and duration of treatment for amblyopia depends on the age of the affected patient and the causal connections to other diseases or family dispositions.
First of all, to improve vision in amblyopia, a corrective measure comes into question, which includes either a surgical procedure or the use of appropriate glasses or contact lenses . This correction of amblyopia refers to the compensation of the so-called refractive error. In the case of amblyopia, which is triggered by strabismus , different procedures such as occlusion or plaster treatment, penalization or a therapy known as pleoptic exercise must be used.
In the occlusion or plaster treatment of amblyopia, the non-weakened eye is covered with an opaque plaster, so that the weakened eye is forced to absorb visual stimuli alone. By doing this, the eye can be stressed more against amblyopia and thus strengthened for better vision.
Outlook & forecast
As a rule, amblyopia causes visual disturbances that only occur in one eye. The children suffer from farsightedness or nearsightedness at a very early age, which significantly limits the everyday life of those affected. In addition to the visual discomfort, there is also often incorrect perception of contrast and contours. Furthermore, amblyopia can lead to problems when reading or writing, so that in some cases the development of the child is also restricted by the disease. Amblyopia does not change life expectancy. In some cases, the disease can also cause orientation problems.
If a tumor is responsible for the amblyopia, it must be removed. Furthermore, visual aids can also be used to solve the patient’s complaints in everyday life. The children can also wear contact lenses for this. Corrections can also be carried out in adulthood so that the visual problems disappear completely. If amblyopia occurs due to strabismus, this can also be treated by a doctor. The therapy usually leads to success.
A causal prevention against amblyopia in the actual sense is not possible. Only when it is obvious that there is visual impairment can timely therapy avoid amblyopia. The early detection and therapy of amblyopia are therefore the best prevention.
If the eyes are injured in small children, they are not given a one-sided covering eye bandage so that amblyopia cannot develop. If the eyes tend to squint, an ophthalmologist should seek treatment as soon as possible to rule out amblyopia. Another key way of preventing amblyopia is the early detection of eye defects in children.
As a rule, no direct follow-up care is possible or necessary in the case of amblyopia. The disease must be treated by a doctor, as this does not lead to self-healing. If no treatment is initiated, the symptoms usually worsen and, in the worst case, complete blindness can occur.
Those affected must ensure that they wear their visual aids regularly so that the eyes are not strained unnecessarily. In the case of amblyopia, the parents of children in particular must ensure that they wear their glasses or contact lenses in order to avoid complications in adulthood. Plasters can also be used to relieve the symptoms of the disease.
If the cause of the amblyopia is a tumor, it must be removed by surgery. After such an operation, the person concerned has to rest and take care of his body. Regular examinations are also useful after removal in order to find further tumors at an early stage. As a rule, amblyopia therapy is always successful and can completely alleviate the symptoms. The life expectancy of the patient is not reduced by the disease.
You can do that yourself
If amblyopia is detected early, the eyesight can be improved again through targeted training. Bad eyes can be strengthened by following the “drawing” index finger with the eyes. Even “looking” with closed eyelids trains the eye muscles without overloading them.
In general, the eyes should be treated with care. A daily eye shower keeps the eyelids moist and at least helps to preserve eyesight. In the long term, amblyopia can be treated with suitable visual aids. Those affected should have their eyesight checked regularly and adjusted if necessary to ensure optimal vision. Careful handling of your own eyesight also includes protecting your eyes. When working on a screen, for example, the eyes must be regularly averted for a few minutes and relaxed. Especially people with pronounced amblyopia should give their eyes regular breaks.
If the functional visual impairment is accompanied by strabismus , psychological counseling may also be useful. Those affected should also seek treatment early on. The original position of the pupils can usually be restored by taking appropriate measures.