Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

 or “lazy eye” is a characterized as poor or blurry vision in either one or both eyes caused by either no transmission or poor transmission of the visual image to the brain during early childhood.

This condition occurs during young age because most of the visual system’s development in humans is complete by 10 years of age. Amblyopia normally only affects one eye, but it is possible to be amblyopic in both eyes if both are similarly deprived of a good, clear visual image.  There are many types of amblyopia:

Refractive Amblyopia:  
This is caused when the prescription in one eye is different compared to the other.

Strabismus Amblyopia:  
This is caused when there is an ocular muscle imbalance, which can cause an eye turn (lazy eye).

Form Deprived Amblyopia:  
This can be cause by congenital cataracts, glaucoma, or other eye condition.  A blockage of the visual pathway for images to get to the brain causes this form of amblyopia.

Many amblyopic, especial the mild cases are unaware of their condition until tested at an older age.  This occurs because one eye is usually still receiving normal vision.  In children, they have a tendency to squint, turn to one side, or often rub their eyes.  Amblyopic also have problems with depth perceptions.

Treatment consists of forcing use of the amblyopic eye, either by patching, or by instilling topical medication (atropine) in the eye with better vision.  Glasses may be required to balance the refractive differences of the eyes.

Early detection and compliance with the treatment protocol are key to the success in treating this condition.  Although the best outcome is achieved if treatment is started before age 5, research has shown that children older than age 10 and some adults can show improvement in the affected eye.

For additional information: Amblyopia Resource Guide