Parent Asks About Amblyopia
are the educational implications of amblyopia? I have a primary–aged
student (six years of age) with amblyopia and want to know if
this condition would affect his reading and writing. I would appreciate
any information you have on this condition.
R., Brooklyn, NY
Wertheimer, M.D., Answers:
question calls attention to one of the most common under-diagnosed
eye conditions leading to decreased vision in our society.
Development of the visual system begins in utero (before birth)
and continues through age eight or nine. Anything which interferes
with normal development of good vision before age eight or nine
such as a “lazy eye” or cataract, can result in a permanent problem
with vision, or amblyopia. In fact, amblyopia is one of the most
common causes of decreased vision in this country. Many cases
of amblyopia can be corrected if identified and treated before
the visual system fully matures. Beyond the age of eight or nine
amblyopia cannot be corrected. This is one of the reasons visual
screening tests are so important in young children.
Carole, your student with amblyopia is six years old, which means
that there is still two to 32 years remaining before full maturation
of the visual system and, therefore, still time to try to correct
the problem. This may include glasses, patching, or even surgery.
Most of those who have amblyopia have it in only one eye. Since
the unaffected eye is usually normal, reading and writing are
not affected and these students can go on to have successful,
productive careers and lives.
Wertheimer, M.D. is a board certified ophthalmologist in practice
in New Jersey. For additional questions about vision problems
or lasik he can be reached at email@example.com.
Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001. Tel:
(212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of
the publisher. © 2001.