Commonly called lazy eye, amblyopia refers to the improper development or significant loss of vision in an eye. It occurs when the brain does not acknowledge the images seen by the amblyopic eye.
Amblyopia occurs when an individual cannot use binocular vision (both eyes working together) due to one of three reasons:1) Strabismus- The most common cause of amblyopia is strabismus, a misalignment of the eyes. To prevent the double vision caused by strabismus, the brain ignores information from one eye.
A condition associated with eye development, amblyopia usually begins in infancy or early childhood. For this reason, amblyopia can be difficult to detect. Eye care professionals recommend children have an eye exam at six months, three years, and before starting school to diagnose amblyopia early.
The primary symptom of amblyopia is the loss of vision in one eye. Since amblyopia does not have many outward symptoms and is often present in infants and young children, it can be difficult to spot.
In some cases, a misalignment of the eyes will be apparent. To test infants at home, a parent can try covering one of the child's eyes at a time while observing behavior. If the infant consistently fusses or cries when one eye is covered, this might indicate a vision problem. Since amblyopia most commonly affects only one eye, children will also consistently bump into objects on the affected side.
An eye care provider will diagnose amblyopia with visual acuity and binocular vision tests. Treatment will focus on strengthening the amblyopic eye and retraining the brain to use the weaker eye with eye patches, glasses, vision therapy, and sometimes strabismus surgery.
Treatment is most effective at a young age, but developments in eye care have successfully treated older patients. If left untreated, amblyopia leads to problems with depth perception, blindness in one eye, and if the stronger eye becomes injured, serious problems with visual acuity.
Blurry vision may be caused by a wide range of issues, ranging from dry eyes and eye strain to congenital or acquired focusing problems. Chronically dry eyes may make the visual field appear blurry, as well as a refractive error in the cornea or lens known as astigmatism. In some cases, patients recovering from eye surgery may experience blurry vision.
Double vision, the perception of two overlapping images, occurs when the two eyes cannot bring their separate images into alignment. It may be the result of dry eyes, cataracts, eye surgery complications, or other issues. In some cases, a neurological injury or disease may create double vision.
These visual symptoms occur when some irregularity in the lens, cornea, or other part of the eye interferes with the normal passage and refraction of light. Cataracts sufferers, for instance, typically see halos around automobile headlights at night. Other aberrations may include starburst patterns, poor night vision, blurring of images, and uncomfortable glare.
Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is the inability to view close objects in focus. It is usually the result of an abnormal eyeball shape that causes incoming light to reach a focal point that would extend beyond the back of the eye.
Myopia, or nearsightedness, occurs when the distance between the front and back of the eye is too great or the cornea has too much curvature. This causes incoming light to reach a focal point before it hits the retina, causing distant objects to appear out of focus.
The name conjures up pain, but ocular migraines are less about headaches and more about a vision problem. Ocular migraines are temporary visual disturbances that can last up to 30 minutes. This condition can affect one eye or both eyes simultaneously. An ocular migraine does not typically cause pain unless accompanied by a migraine headache.
Multiple visual symptoms can signal an ocular migraine attack. Ocular migraines can appear suddenly and distort your field of vision like a cracked mirror or window. It is frightening, but the symptoms usually disappear within a half-hour.
A small blind spot will appear, often surrounded with flickering lights and wavy lines surrounding the perimeter of the spot. The blind spot will enlarge and sometimes moves across your field of vision during the ocular migraine attack.
Ocular migraine sufferers can also experience prodromes that develop days or weeks before an attack. Prodromes can cause mood swings, food cravings, and sluggishness.
Many things that trigger migraine headaches are also root causes behind ocular migraines. If you have a family history of suffering from migraine headaches, your chances are much higher for struggling with ocular migraines.
Changes in blood flow to the brain occur while suffering from an ocular migraine. These migraines are triggered by a build-up of inflammation around the nerves and blood vessels in the brain and the rest of the head.
Middle-aged adults are the most common migraine sufferers. Women are three times more likely than men to suffer from migraines.
Common migraine triggers include cigarette smoke, perfume, bright or flickering lights, sleep deprivation, and stress. Certain foods can also be a problem including cheese, caffeinated drinks, red wine, chocolate, smoked meat, and artificial sweeteners.
Since ocular migraines cause no pain and typically disappear within a half-hour, there is no specific treatment required for this eye condition.
If you are driving, reading or performing a task that requires good vision, stop the activity and relax during an ocular migraine attack. Resume your activity once your vision returns to normal. If it is accompanied by a migraine headache, visit your eye care professional to get an eye exam and discuss some treatment options.
Keep a log of your diet and activities to help you identify ocular migraine triggers. This will help you know what foods to avoid consuming and activities to avoid doing in the future.