Amblyopia is decreased vision in one or both eyes due to abnormal visual stimulation.
The brain needs to receive clear, retinal images in both eyes simultaneously during the development of the visual system. If this development does not occur normally the area of the brain that corresponds to the vision of one eye will not develop normally.
Amblyopia occurs in 1% to 2% of the general population and is the main cause for decrease vision in children.
When amblyopia occurs in both eyes, the child gets close to objects to see them better, or squints.
However, if it occurs in one eye only; amblyopia can be asymptomatic.
Unlike what is commonly believed, amblyopia does not cause headaches, dizziness or any other symptom.
The most common causes of amblyopia include strabismus, farsightedness, astigmatism, opacities in the eye or congenital cataract and trauma.
Children are susceptible to amblyopia from birth up to 7 or 8 years old.
The earlier the abnormal visual stimulation, the more severe visual deficit.
When amblyopia affects one eye, patching is the current treatment,this consists in placing a patch over the sound eye.
When both eyes are affected, treatment should try to correct the cause.
In some cases, a drop that dilates the pupil is used to "delete" vision temporarily, generating the same effect as the patch. Another option is to dilate the pupil of the sound eye with an eyedrop. This drop blurs the image of the eye enhancing the visual development of the amblyopic eye.
In adults, no treatment has been found for this condition.