What is it?

Amblyopia, commonly known as “lazy eye,” is a vision problem that occurs most commonly in young children. The problem results in one eye not being able to see images as clearly as the other eye. While it typically only affects one eye, it is possible to affect both eyes.

How does it happen?

Amblyopia is technically not an “eye problem.” What happens when someone has a lazy eye is an issue with the brain or the optic nerve. The brain cannot properly interpret the image seen by the affected eye(s), resulting in blurry vision. There are three types of amblyopia, caused by different conditions:

  • Strabismic Amblyopia: One of the eyes is misaligned/crooked, so the brain essentially ignores the affected eye.
  • Deprivation Amblyopia: Typically caused by a condition such as congenial cataracts (a clouding over the eye, present at birth).
  • Refractive Amblyopia: One of the eyes is affected by an error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism) and the other is not. The brain ignores the affected eye.

What are the symptoms?

Blurred vision is the main symptom of amblyopia. The symptoms are often disguised, as the affected person can usually still see fine out of one eye.

What are my risk factors?

Typically, amblyopia is a condition present at birth. It does tend to run in families, so genetics do play a part in the risk.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

The issue is often not diagnosed until a child has a vision exam. For better results, amblyopia should be diagnosed and treated at an early age. Once it is diagnosed, there are a few options for treatment. Treatment options include:

  • Eye drops (drops in the “good” eye will blur vision, forcing the “bad” eye to learn to see better)
  • Eye glasses (usually used in combination with one of the other methods)
  • Eye patching (putting a patch over the “good” eye to train the “bad” eye to see better)
  • Surgery (realigns the affected eye)

If your child is experiencing similar symptoms to amblyopia, contact us today. Early diagnosis is essential to future eye health!

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