What is Amblyopia?

Amblyopia, also known as "lazy eye”, is the most common cause of visual impairment in children and young adults. Sometimes amblyopia is caused by strabismus. Other times it is caused because there is a difference in the prescription between the two eyes (anisometropia). Whichever the cause, the brain favors one eye over the other resulting in reduced vision in the unfavored eye.

Amblyopia is a condition that may be preventable but unfortunately it is often not diagnosed until a child reaches school-age. It is generally felt that the earlier it is detected and treated, the easier it is to obtain a successful result. While it is always best to catch amblyopia as early as possible, it is important to know that there is no age limit to achieving successful treatment.

Treatment usually consists of wearing glasses and if necessary, patching or eye drops, and vision therapy. The purpose of the glasses is to ensure a clear, crisp image projected on the eye. Patching or eye drops are then added to force the “weaker” eye to be utilized more. Finally, vision therapy may also be added to further develop binocularity and 3-D depth perception. You and your doctor will be able to discuss which treatment options would be most suitable for your child.

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