Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

The term amblyopia or lazy eye refers to a decrease in vision in one or both eyes with no structural abnormality to the eye itself.

Some of the most common causes of amblyopia are an eye turn or misalignment (strabismus), anisometropia or unequal glasses prescription between the two eyes, high hyperopia, significant astigmatism, and cataracts. Every child with an eye turn does not have amblyopia.

A comprehensive exam will allow your doctor to determine if your child has amblyopia or could be at risk for developing amblyopia.

Treatment of your child’s amblyopia will depend on the underlying cause. At times, glasses are the first step in treating amblyopia. Glasses will allow both eyes to be in focus at the same time. The vision may not immediately improve with the glasses.

The glasses will put things in focus and train your child’s eye to see better over time. Some children will need occlusive therapy or patching as treatment. Patching the better seeing eye will help to strengthen the vision in the amblyopic eye.

As an alternative to patching your doctor may consider using a drop which dilates the pupil in the better seeing eye. This blurs the vision in the better seeing eye, encouraging the brain to use the amblyopic eye more.