Obstruction of Nasolacrimal Duct may lead to Lazy Eye
Around 1.6 percent to 3.6 percent people suffer from “lazy eye”, a condition which in medical terminology is referred to as “Amblyopia.” It results in poor vision and the condition may become permanent, if not corrected with the first 6 to 8 years of life. The child may then have to suffer from a poor sight throughout his life. Amblyopia is associated with several risk factors, one of which is the obstruction of the tear duct or the “nasolacrimal duct.” A new study, published in the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, has found an association between nasolacrimal duct obstruction (NLDO) and amblyopia.
The researchers, led by Dr. Noelle S. Matta of the Family Eye Group in Lancaster, PA, conducted the study with the purpose of determining the percentage of children under the age of three and born with NLDO who subsequently progress to develop amblyopia. They conducted a retrospective analysis of the ophthalmology records of 375 children less than 3 years old who suffered from NLDO and consulted a pediatric oculoplastic specialist for the condition. Among the children, those with amblyopia risk factors were identified. It was seen that the percentage of such children was 22% and the average age for the first visit to the ophthalmologist was 12 months. 63 percent of these children developed amblyopia subsequently.
Half of the patients were treated with spectacles alone, 13 required spectacles and occlusion therapy, whereas 6 patients had to undergo surgery for strabismus. All the patients who required patching were found to be suffering from NLDO. The researchers have concluded that children with amblyopia risk factors, such as NLDO, are more likely to develop amblyopia compared to other children. They have therefore suggested a mandatory comprehensive examination,including cycloplegic refraction, of all children suffering from congenital NLDO, and a follow up of all the children suffering from amblyopia risk factors so that they can be prevented from developing amblyopia.