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When we notice that the child frequently winks to focus on an object, we may be facing a symptom of amblyopia ('lazy eye'). Nevertheless, these symptoms are often barely noticeable, and the child can live for a long time with a vision problem without his parents noticing.
That is why it is very important to take children to the ophthalmologist, even if it is routine. A review can detect a problem early that creates more problems than we think. Among them, school failure.
The doctor Elvira Jimenez, Optician-Optometrist at ALAIN AFFLELOU, reveals some facts about amblyopia ('lazy eye'). Among them, that it is a unilateral condition (rarely bilateral), where there is a partial loss of vision caused by a delay in the development of the visual pathways.
Amblyopia doesn't cause many symptoms And it tends to go unnoticed by both parents and teachers and even pediatricians, so it is important to carry out regular annual reviews. Still, there are some signs that we can observe in the child: winks or squints, covers or closes one eye, twists his head, struggles with eye-hand coordination, miscalculates distances, complains of headache, eye pain, etc.
The 'lazy eye' is the leading cause of vision loss in children under 8 years of age worldwide, with a prevalence of between 2 and 5% (an average of 3% in school age)
Amblyopia has a strong hereditary component. The risk of developing 'lazy eye' is quadrupled in children with a first-order family history of amblyopia, high refractive errors, or strabismus.
The only way to prevent is with regular review. The success of the recovery depends on early detection and early childhood treatment.
Children are usually quite tolerant of the patch or glasses used in the treatment of amblyopia. They do not usually cause negative psychological impact on the child, especially if it is very young. Nevertheless, success also depends on parental involvement. How can we help you? Tell them a story or a tale where the protagonist is in the child's situation and thus play down the patch or glasses. Play with them during the hours of use of the patch. Organize a pirate party. Reward them for compliance and progress ...
The 80% of children's learning is through vision. The possible delay in development is related to the age of appearance of the visual problem, the severity and the magnitude of the deficit. Between 10 and 20% of the child and youth population have learning difficulties and between 15 and 30% of school failures can be caused by visual disturbances.
How can we help children with amblyopia to do better in school? The first and most important thing is to detect it in time, as early treatment is essential for successful results. Once detected, we must strictly comply with the treatment and be constant to obtain results in a short time. Involve teachers in complying with the patch hours, wearing glasses, etc. In addition, there are visual therapy and early stimulation techniques that can help us reduce treatment periods by 50%.
Source consulted: Elvira Jiménez, Optician-Optometrist at ALAIN AFFLELOU and Master's Degree in Clinical Optometry.
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