"Lazy eye", the most common cause of low vision in children

InfantilAll unilateral or bilateral decrease in visual acuity that can not be explained by any apparent injury t is called amblyopia. It is the most common cause of low vision in the school population after refractive errors, and is the cause more easily preventable or treatable if done on time. "Early diagnosis means preventing damage that over time becomes irreparable," underscore from the Centro de Ojos.

During early childhood the eye undergoes a process of maturation, changes and adaptations that makes it ready to have normal vision in adulthood. To make it so, it is imperative to have an adequate stimulus on the retina and to that stimulus be perceived in a sharp way. When an obstruction prevents it to happen, vision development is slowed in the affected eye and amblyopia occurs, which in turn, if not treated in time, will cause low vision of that eye for life.

There are several types of amblyopia depending on the cause. The most often is when asymmetric refractive defects are present in either eye, but can also appear due to compensation of a squint or disuse of an eye as result of congenital opacities.

Amblyopia can be prevented or treated effectively provided the treatment is started early in life, at the age when there is still brain plasticity or ability to reverse the inhibition of the affected eye and make the vision to develop correctly. This can preferably be below 6 years.

The treatment will be based on making the eye to perceive the images as sharp as possible. To do this, we must correct the obstacle if there is any (as a congenital cataract), prescribe glasses (if needed) and, on the other hand, make the vision of the affected eye compete with the other by occluding of the latter with a patch at a rate that can vary due to the degree of amblyopia.