Before jumping on to the complications of a lazy eye over time, one should be aware of what actually a lazy eye means.
So, a lazy eye is actually is nothing like an eye which is lazy or fatigued. It is just a misnomer. It is all about non-functioning eye which may occur in childhood or adult. The primary causes of lazy eye in children are-
- Muscle imbalance, it is considered an important cause of lazy eye. The muscles which keep the eye in the balanced state are incapable of performing the desired task which leads to lazy eye.
- Congenital cataract which makes the eye non-functioning. When a particular organ is not allowed to work for a considerable amount of time usually there is occurrence of atrophy of that particular organ or that organ is unable to initiate its desired role. For example in the case of old age people who are on bed rest for a very long time a condition arises which is known as disuse atrophy. Here muscles are atrophied and bones become more prone to fracture. This similar thing happens in the eye when from childhood there is no use of abnormal eye eventually it stops functioning or losses it is the ability to work.
Can A Lazy Eye Get Worse Over Time?
Yes, definitely if the lazy eye is not treated on time it may worsen as disuse causes lack of functioning of the eye. Stimulation is necessary for keeping eye functioning. Once the stimulation is lost there is a high chance that the patient may end up losing his vision. So this is the reason why timely treatment is needed.(1)
With progressing time when the normal eye is sending signals to the brain and on the contrary, there is no signal from the lazy eye. Sooner or later brain stops perceiving signals from the lazy eye and now the person is totally dependent on a signal from the normal eye. Hence, the lazy eye is actually a blind eye now whose signals are of no use to the brain since it has stopped responding to it.
The lazy eye mostly worsens, but there is at times where it may not progress to worst condition but those are rare lucky cases. Besides, that one should maintain proper eye hygiene to prevent oneself from such complications.
What Should One Do To Prevent Lazy Eye Worsening?
The only measure one should take is to get diagnosed as early as possible. This can be done by regular medical checkups. It is known fact that if a child is not treated early the changes may become irreversible and it is very difficult to correct the eye in such a scenario. So initial management includes a patch test in which normal eye patches and the abnormal eye is unmatched. In this situation, the brain is forced to accept the signal from the lazy eye. Slowly with time signals from the lazy eye are responded by the brain. This is the simplest step one should take to resolve the issue of lazy eye. But care should be taken not to patch the normal eye for long as cases have been encountered where normal eye becomes lazy due to excessive patching. So, patch free intervals should be given.(2)
Besides this refractive errors should also be detected as it may occur that lazy eye if have any refractive error patient may find difficulty in seeing. So prior putting a patch all the basic tests and refractive testing should be performed. Once the refractive errors are ruled out then only other investigations should be done. A patch test is usually very effective and widely used but besides that medication which includes atropine should be started.
With the advent of technology usually, a person with the lazy eye is hard to find as there are so many corrective surgeries where muscle correction is done to bring the eye to normal vision. So lazy eye should not be ignored instead of immediate treatment and correction is the key to improvement.