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.
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 3, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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