Amblyopia, commonly called "lazy eye," is an eye condition in which
one eye is not used enough for the visual system in the brain to develop
properly. If one eye is weak, the brain ignores the images from it and uses
only the images from the stronger eye, leading to poor vision in the weak
Amblyopia usually affects only one eye, but it may occur in both
eyes. Children can develop amblyopia between birth and about 7 years of age.
Amblyopia can be hard to detect. A child with amblyopia may have
one eye that wanders or does not move with the other eye.
Amblyopia may develop if a child is much more nearsighted or
farsighted in one eye than in the other. Extreme nearsightedness or
farsightedness in both eyes may lead to amblyopia. Cloudiness in the black
center of the eye or a droopy upper eyelid also can lead to amblyopia.
Normal vision develops with regular, equal use of the eyes.
Treatment for amblyopia includes patching the stronger eye to force the weaker
eye to develop better vision. Early treatment can usually reverse the
March 8, 2013
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
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