Amblyopia

in StemSocial3 months ago

Greetings to everyone,


It is another beautiful day today and I do hope you are all doing amazing and having a wonderful time. As we are still in October which is a month of ocular health awareness as well as breast cancer awareness, I would like to make good use of the last days of the month to educate us on some conditions of the eye and what we can do for ourselves as well as our families or neighbors.

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Today I would be talking about a common but not-so-common condition known as Amblyopia. Common because there are a good number of people who have some amount of amblyopia for which not much can be done about it due to the time of diagnosis and not so common because the statistics are not available to give a solid number for global comparison.


Amblyopia



I would describe amblyopia as a state or condition of the eye where vision is not at the optimal level and is not improving by any medical means available, thus including refraction, medication, or surgical process or procedure. Amblyopia is also known as the "lazy eye" a term that came about as a result of the eye refusing to see well no matter what you doctor tries to do.

Amblyopia is considered to be more of a brain problem than an eye problem because one of the key factors that enable your Optometrist to diagnose you with amblyopia demands no pathology involving the eye. The eye ideally should be seen however the electric impulses that go to the brain are not interpreted as they ought.

What happens with amblyopia is that, during the sensitive period of child development (thus the ages from about 3 years till about 10 years), the brain (visual cortex) needs to get the right impulses for it to learn and associate objects and their images well. When kids have a refractive error and some other anatomy or physiological defect in the eye, it tends to affect the quality of images or impulses that goes to the brain.

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When the brain gets used to these poor-quality images and the child grows to become an adult, the person mostly tends to develop amblyopia when later an Optometrist comes to realize that the person is not seeing as they ought to. Now you may be wondering why the child didn't realize that he or she is not seeing well, the issue is that when we are born, we are born tabula rasa and as we grow we learn and adapt.

And so most children who end up with amblyopia later in life tend to think that, thus how they are seeing is normal and comparable to all their friend's own. And so if this child is not lucky enough to perhaps have an issue with the eye that would warrant a visit to the eye clinic or have a parent that observes the child's eye exam protocols routinely then this child will end up suffering later in life.

The severity of Amblyopia may vary based on the cause of the amblyopia and the extent to which vision may have been affected. Whiles for some the vision may be very bad, for others, it may be good enough to go about unnoticed or can be disregarded whiles still having a good quality of life.


Causes, Management/Treatment & Prevention


The most common causes of Amblyopia include High refractive errors, Ocular Deviations (Tropia) & Cataracts (Congenital & Traumatic). Amblyopia is a common cause of visual loss in kids. Fortunately, most of these causes have very simple treatments which when dealt with early enough could prevent the condition from happening.

The preventive measures that can be put in place to avoid this simply involve getting our babies, infants, toddlers, and kids to the eye facility at least once every 6 months for a routine eye examination. This would go a long way to help detect these issues early and thus help put treatment measures in place to avoid amblyopia development.

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Management of amblyopia is still a possibility even after the sensitive period of a child which ends somewhere around age 10 and 11. The possibility is a result of what is known as the plasticity of the brain. The brain is flexible such that even after this period till the early twenties of a person's life intense treatment protocols can help improve vision and help reduce amblyopia.

Currently, treatment protocols involve patching of the unaffected or non-amblyopic eye forcing the affected eye to see, the cause of the amblyopia would have to be dealt with first before this, thus in the case of a refractive error, the child or person ought to have been corrected, same goes for intervention for tropia and the removal of cataract of anything that may be blocking the ocular media.

Depending on the severity of the condition you may undergo this therapy for some months until improvements are seen or the situation is corrected. I want to once again state that it is of utmost importance that we get our wards regular eye care exams to help avoid these conditions from happening.


Conclusion


The condition Amblyopia in most cases if not all can be corrected when discovered early and vision can be taken to the optimal level. Child vision care is an important thing that lots of parents disregard until they see something wrong with the eye. This shouldn't be so because a lot of conditions tend to hide when it comes to the eye.

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Thus I would once again admonish you my dear reader to make regular routine visits to your eye care provider a habit. This would do you a whole lot of good for the eye and perhaps even save your sight one of these days. I do wish you all well and many thanks for reading what I had to share today, greetings to my friends @gentleshaid, @agmoore, and professor @lemouth for their wonderful work every day. Stay safe and have a wonderful time.


Further Reading

Birch EE. Amblyopia and binocular vision. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2013 Mar;33:67-84. doi: 10.1016/j.preteyeres.2012.11.001. Epub 2012 Nov 29. PMID: 23201436; PMCID: PMC3577063.

DeSantis D. Amblyopia. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2014 Jun;61(3):505-18. doi: 10.1016/j.pcl.2014.03.006. Epub 2014 Apr 14. PMID: 24852148.

McConaghy JR, McGuirk R. Amblyopia: Detection and Treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2019 Dec 15;100(12):745-750. PMID: 31845774.

Holmes JM, Levi DM. Treatment of amblyopia as a function of age. Vis Neurosci. 2018 Jan;35:E015. doi: 10.1017/S0952523817000220. PMID: 29905125.

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It is a important thing to notice in the child! Thanks for bringing the info
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There is something I am not getting.

Is Amblyopia equal to something like short sightedness or long sightedness

No please, extreme short-sightedness or long sightedness otherwise known as myopia and hyperopia could result in amblyopia however they are two different things

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