What is amblyopia?
The term “amblyopia” is derived from the Greek word meaning “dull eye.” It signifies reduced visual acuity of one eye without a measurable organic or neuronal cause. As many as 5% of all children in Germany suffer from this form of visual impairment.
Here is the problem: In healthy children, the images of the outside world that both eyes see are translated into nerve impulses that are sent to the brain where they are processed evenly and simultaneously, allowing for 3D “stereovision.” However, this 3D vision works only if the brain receives high-quality images from both eyes. In children with amblyopia, the images from the two eyes do not match because one eye is weaker (the “lazy” eye) due to a clouding of the lens (creating blurry imges), a focusing power that is much different from that of the other eye (unsharp images), or because of the child’s crossed-eye (producing double-images). The mismatch can be spatial when one eye is shifted to the side (as in crossed eyes), it can be mismatched in brightness or sharpness (as in congenital cataract), or it can be mismatched in temporal processing (when information from one eye arrives to the brain after information from the other eye arrives).
Because this mismatch is too difficult for the brain to handle, the brain ignores the information it receives from the lazy eye and only processes visual signals from the “stronger” eye. The visual pathway from the neglected eye then becomes less active and fails to properly develop. While the connection to the brain is there, the synapses do not get activated, as if they were “switched off” by the brain.
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Sabel
“The optimization of residual vision is a holistic complement to ophthalmological care such as eye drops or surgeries. We continue where ophthalmology stops. We combine conventional medical science with new findings from modern brain research and traditional medicine methods.”
The causes of amblyopia
How can I tell if my child has amblyopia?
Amblyopia can be caused by different problems and can show different symptoms. It is especially difficult for parents to recognize amblyopia in young children who are unable to notice the problem themselves or cannot (yet) tell their parents about it. One test a parent can do is to have the child look with each eye separately and ask them if there is any difference in what they see, for example, if what they see with one eye is weaker or blurrier than what they see with the other eye. In any event, once a problem has been recognized, regular checkups are important, including those with an ophthalmologist.
recognizing objects, which could indicate they are amblyopic. At later stages of childhood, problems with writing or reading often occur, and they may not be recognized until the child goes to school and is asked to sit in the front row of the classroom because of their poor vision. Children with amblyopia may also have problems with hand-eye coordination. Because only one eye does the job of seeing the world, spatial (3D) vision is typically impaired in amblyopia.
It is relatively common for amblyopia to go unrecognized in childhood because children quickly become accustomed to seeing sharply with only one eye and they have never learned what 3D vision is. What´s more, other people often do not recognized that the child does not see properly, because the eye itself looks normal on the outside. Therefore, the problem is often not noticed by the parents or the child’s peers.
What is strabismic amblyopia?
What is refractive amblyopia?
How is amblyopia treated?
If an ophthalmologist or orthoptist diagnoses amblyopia, they will also provide information about treatment options. The best time to treat amblyopia is during childhood. The development of normal vision is usually completed in the early teenage years, after which — at least according to traditional teachings of conventional medicine — amblyopia cannot be treated. Especially during childhood, the current standard of care is occlusion therapy, which involves using an eye patch to cover one eye. The patch masks the healthy eye to force the brain to process signals from the weak eye. The doctrine is that this treatment only works in childhood. However, recent research shows that such a therapy is also effective in adulthood because the brain maintains adaptability (plasticity) in adulthood.
For strabismus, surgery of the eye muscles to align the eyes also may be helpful. There are also corrective prism-like eyeglasses that can shift the visual field enough to counteract the deviation of the strabismic eye. And new methods are being developed with special glasses or virtual reality goggles that train both eyes equally by reducing the activity of the strong eye and increasing the activity of the weak eye, so both are balanced again (usually for the first time).
How can SAVIR therapy help with amblyopia?
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