Jenny Woo, 41, Amblyopia
How would you explain Amblyopia to a Child?
Amblyopia is a big word that means one of your eyes is not doing its job as well as the other eye. It's like when you have a team and one player is not playing as well as the others. Your brain gets used to relying on the stronger player and forgets all about the weaker player.
Amblyopia can be hereditary, or caused by strabismus (cross or misaligned eyes), a cataract and other eye conditions. If it's not treated early before the ages of 7-9, then it results in permanent and irreversible vision loss. This can not be corrected with surgery or lens, because it has to do with the internal wiring of the brain.
Amblyopia not only affects vision, but also depth perception and other visual skills, which can impact daily activities such as sports, driving, and reading.
What did it feel like to live with Amblyopia?
I was raised by my grandparents during my childhood and did not have access to vision care. As a result, I have permanent Amblyopia. One of my eye is deemed legally blind. This means that I rely on the other eye and my brain is wired differently for vision. I am unable to decipher visual optical illusions and I don't quality for fMRI and sleep research studies because my brain is not considered representative of the "average population." From time to time, I feel insecure and scared about my future. I hope I can continue to see my kids and their offsprings clearly for as long as I can.
What do you want the world to know about Amblyopia?
Another term for amblyopia is called "lazy eye." This could sound insensitive as it's not the person's choice to be "lazy."
I also want the world to know that this is curable -- if treated and managed early in a child's life!! It's so important to catch it early, so please make sure to get your toddlers and preschooler's visions check on a regular basis.
What brings you joy?
I light up when I bring joy to others. It's so contagious! I also love creating things with my hands (arts and craft) and designing things on the computer. I love kissing and hugging my kids -- I hope they will stay cuddly forever. Traveling and working out are also my jams.