Amblyopia and Strabismus in Children: Care Instructions

Skip to the navigation

Your Care Instructions

Three types of amblyopia

Amblyopia is when one eye is weaker than the other. Some people call this "lazy eye." It causes the brain to take in images from the stronger eye and ignore images from the weaker eye. This leads to poor vision in the weaker eye. It most often affects only one eye. Children can develop the problem between birth and about age 7.

Sometimes amblyopia occurs because the eyes don't focus on the same object. For example, one eye may point straight while the other looks in another direction. This condition is called strabismus. It sends two different images to the brain. In a young child with strabismus, the brain chooses to receive the images from only one eye.

Amblyopia can sometimes be treated if it is caught at a young age. Your doctor may want your child to wear a patch over the stronger eye. This helps develop the vision in the weaker eye. Or your doctor may suggest glasses or eyedrops to blur the vision in the good eye.

Sometimes surgery is needed to fix strabismus. Surgery, including use of a laser, is not used to treat amblyopia.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Follow directions for wearing an eye patch or glasses or using eyedrops. Your doctor will tell you how many hours a day your child should wear the patch or glasses or how often to use eyedrops.
  • Give your child lots of love and support during treatment. He or she may be teased at school for wearing a patch or glasses. Remind your child how important the patch or glasses are to help his or her vision.
  • Explain the treatment to your child's teachers. Then they can help support your child.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child will not wear the eye patch or glasses.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter Q346 in the search box to learn more about "Amblyopia and Strabismus in Children: Care Instructions."

Current as of: May 23, 2016