Amblyopia, also known as “lazy eye,” is an eye condition in which the brain does not fully recognize images transmitted from an eye, resulting in reduced vision. In most cases, only one eye is affected but amblyopia can cause reduced vision in both eyes as well.
The disorder typically affects children at an early age but can become progressively worse if not diagnosed and treated properly. Some estimates show that amblyopia affects 1-5% of the population, while 3% of children under six years old have some form of amblyopia.
Anything that interferes with vision in the eyes from birth to six years of age can result in amblyopia. Some of the more common causes include constant strabismus, anisometropia (different vision in each eye), or blockage of an eye from trauma, lid droop, etc. Simply stated, if one eye sees clearly and one does not, the brain will start to ignore the eye with the blurred vision.
Common signs and symptoms include:
- An eye that turns inward or outward
- Eyes that may not appear to work together or be properly aligned
- Poor depth perception
- Although amblyopia typically affects one eye, vision in both eyes can be affected
Treatment for amblyopia is usually simple and can include glasses, drops and/or eye patching. While detection and treatment at a young age has long been held as the best method for the treatment of amblyopia, advances in vision therapy technology have made treatment for older patients a reality.