The amblyopia it is a visual problem, which is also known as 'lazy or lazy eye'. Usually it affects one of the eyes, but it can affect both. The problem begins when the pathways that carry vision messages from one eye to the brain do not develop strong enough. So the brain prefers the other eye and the child's sight does not develop normally.
Amblyopia is the most common cause of vision problems in children. According to the latest research, approximately 2.5 percent of the world's population suffers from this problem. In Spain, there are approximately one million cases.
Amblyopia originates when the brain cells that are responsible for the vision of the eye, do not develop due to lack of use. It can also be caused by some visual defects such as myopia, astigmatism and hyperopia, which were not diagnosed in time during childhood. It can lead to reduced sight in an eye that is not used sufficiently in early childhood. Amblyopia affects 2 to 3 out of 100 children. Without treatment, it can eventually cause blindness in the underused eye.
This loss of vision can be developed in:
1. Carriers of strabismus early-onset: the most common cause of amblyopia is misalignment of the eyes or squinting. When a child's eyes are not aligned properly, the brain does not pay attention to one eye to avoid double vision.
2. Cataract carriers: cataract-induced amblyopia (clouding of the eye tissue) is less common but more severe. It should be treated in the first 2 months of life.
3. Carriers of high graduation problems, mainly those that combine astigmatism and hyperopia: amblyopia can also occur when one eye sees better than the other, for example, when one of the eyes is very myopic. The stronger eye is used more often than the weak eye and eventually the strong eye takes over completely and the weak eye stops working.
4. Carriers of significant graduation differences between one eye and the other.
5. Nystagmus carriers, a type of constant and involuntary back and forth movement of both eyes.
6. Carriers of any microscopic lesion.
In addition to these causes, there are risks and symptoms that can make us think that our children may suffer from amblyopia. Children who suffer from strabismus, wear glasses, have problems related to cataracts or other eye defects are at higher risk of developing amblyopia. The family medical history of patients is also decisive, since having parents with a high graduation or having a family history of vision problems also predisposes them to amblyopia.
According to specialists, parents should be attentive to some symptoms that their children may present, such as:
- Divert an eye
- Look at the blackboard or television from the side
- Complain of constant headaches or blurred vision
- Present persistent blinking of the eyes
- Rub the eyes frequently
- Wink your eyes when looking at shiny surfaces
- Put your eyes close to the book to be able to read
- Follow the lines of a text with your fingers If the child has more than two or three of the specified symptoms, it is best to take him to a specialist ophthalmologist for an evaluation.
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