Mercy Eye Center
Amblyopia (commonly called lazy-eye) – occurs when one or both eyes do not develop normal vision during early childhood. Normal vision will not develop if there is anything to blur a child’s vision or cause the eye(s) to be misaligned (turn in or out).
- Strabismus: The most common cause of amblyopia is strabismus - an imbalance in the muscles responsible for movement of the eyes. With this abnormality, the inability to move the eyes together results in an in or out turned eye. In this circumstance, the misdirected eye will not develop clear vision.
- Anisometropia: Another cause of amblyopia is anisometropia – a large difference in the clarity of sight between the eyes due to a large difference in refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism) for one eye relative to the other.
- Anatomic abnormality: Sometimes amblyopia develops because of the presence of a congenital cataract which blurs the vision of one or both eyes.
Signs and symptoms
- An eye that appears misaligned (in or out turned)
- Poor depth appreciation
- Poor eye-hand coordination
- Lazy eye tends to have a familial character so if anyone in the family has had amblyopia, early eye evaluation (under age 3 years) is important. In addition, premature infants and youngsters with developmental delays have greater risk of amblyopia.
Your child’s eye doctor can diagnose amblyopia with a comprehensive eye examination. Treatment may include regularly wearing an eye patch over the stronger eye to help the weaker eye develop normal vision. In some cases surgery may be recommended. Treatment will be more effective the earlier it is begun.