Amblyopia (lazy eye)
Amblyopia—also known as lazy eye—is the loss or lack of development of clear vision in one or both eyes.
Amblyopia—or lazy eye—is often associated with crossed eyes or is a large difference in the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness between the two eyes. It usually develops before age 6 and does not affect side vision. Eyeglasses or contact lenses cannot fully correct the reduced vision caused by amblyopia if vision was not developed within the critical period.
Causes & risk factors
- Not getting a comprehensive eye exam to detect condition by 6 months of age and again at 3 years of age.
- A high prescription that has gone uncorrected with glasses or contacts.
- Family history.
- Premature birth.
- Developmentally disabled.
- Eye turn—also referred to as strabismus (one eye turned out or in).
- Visual deprivation of one eye—congenital cataract, ptosis and/or corneal opacities.
- Large refractive errors.
Symptoms may include noticeably favoring one eye or a tendency to bump into objects on one side. Symptoms are not always obvious.
Early diagnosis increases the chance of a complete recovery.
The American Optometric Association recommends that children have a comprehensive optometric examination by 6 months of age and again at age 3. Lazy eye will not go away on its own. If left undiagnosed until the preteen, teen or adult years, treatment takes longer and is often less effective.
Treatment for lazy eye may include a combination of prescription lenses, prisms, vision therapy and eye patching. In vision therapy, patients learn how to use the two eyes together, which helps prevent lazy eye from reoccurring.