What is Amblyopia?
Amblyopia, or “Lazy Eye”, impairs the vision in one eye, owing to insufficient coordination between the eye and the brain.
The condition is mostly treated by patching, which involves a high level of discomfort and stress, or Atropine drops, which entail severe side effects.
Although the amblyopic eye appears normal, it does not function normally.
Lazy eye causes may be any condition that prevents an eye from focusing clearly. Estimated to affect 2.5%–5% of children, it is the most common cause of monocular visual impairment among young and middle-aged adults.
The most common amblyopia treatments are patching (occlusion therapy) or Atropine drops,
each of which involves significant shortcomings.
Patching – the more traditional and prevalent amblyopia treatment, blocks the healthy eye in order to stimulate the weak eye.
This therapy requires approximately 2-6 hours daily, and involves considerable challenges for children and their parents, especially at young ages when the child often simply pulls off the patch.
Only 60% of children achieve normal vision with patching; around 35% of children treated with occlusion therapy improve, and then regress due to lack of long-term adherence to the therapy regime by both parents and children. Patching may also cause irritation and allergy.
Atropine drops are administered into the healthy eye, forcing the lazy eye into heightened activity.
Atropine drops may be hard to administer in children, and are associated with rare but severe side effects, from flushing and dry mouth to hyperactivity, tachycardia and even seizures. Atropine also brings relatively slower vision improvement.