Amblyopia is the term we use for one or both eyes that do not see well despite being healthy in every way.  A common term for this is “lazy eye“, but this is not at all the case.

When we are born we do not know how to see, we must learn to see.  Also, we do not see with our eyes.  Our eyes collect the information, but our brains process it.  So any condition that blocks the eye from getting a clear image can cause amblyopia.  If not caught early this can be a permanent condition.  Three of the most common causes of amblyopia are:

1. One eye turning in or out in comparison to the other (strabismus)

2. A very strong prescription in one or both eyes

3. Something physically blocking the light from getting in the eye, like a cataract you are born with or a droopy eye lid.

If detected early in life all three of these conditions can be reversed and normal vision can be achieved.  The treatments can include; surgery, eyeglasses, contact lenses, eye patching and vision therapy.  Usually, more than one treatment is required.   The eye that is amblyopic is not “lazy eye” it merely needs to be given a chance to make those connections to the brain.  Early detection is crucial to the treatment so it is important to have early childhood vision examinations.


Author: Dr. Melissa Tada

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