Also called: Lazy eye

Amblyopia, or "lazy eye," is the most common cause of visual impairment in children. It happens when an eye fails to work properly with the brain. The eye may look normal, but the brain favors the other eye. In some cases, it can affect both eyes. Causes include

  • Strabismus - a disorder in which the two eyes don't line up in the same direction
  • Refractive error in an eye - when one eye cannot focus as well as the other, because of a problem with its shape. This includes nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
  • Cataract - a clouding in the lens of the eye

It can be hard to diagnose amblyopia. It is often found during a routine vision exam.

Treatment for amblyopia forces the child to use the eye with weaker vision. There are two common ways to do this. One is to have the child wear a patch over the good eye for several hours each day, over a number of weeks to months. The other is with eye drops that temporarily blur vision. Each day, the child gets a drop of a drug called atropine in the stronger eye. It is also sometimes necessary to treat the underlying cause. This could include glasses or surgery.

NIH: National Eye Institute

Symptoms of Amblyopia

The following features are indicative of Amblyopia:
  • poor pattern recognition
  • poor visual acuity
  • low sensitivity to contrast and motion
  • spatial distortion
  • abnormal spatial interactions
  • impaired contour detection
  • impaired stereoacuity
  • abnormal binocular summation

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Common Causes of Amblyopia

The following are the most common causes of Amblyopia:
  • cataract
  • strabismus
  • inability of one eye to focus as well as the other one
  • one eye is more nearsighted
  • one eye is more farsighted
  • one eye has more astigmatism

Risk Factors for Amblyopia

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Amblyopia:
  • greater magnitude of significant refractive errors
  • presence of strabismus
  • greater magnitude of astigmatism
  • bilateral hyperopia

Prevention of Amblyopia

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Amblyopia. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • regular eye screening tests in children to treat the condition early if the disease is diagnosed

Occurrence of Amblyopia

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Amblyopia cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Not common between 50K - 500K cases

Common Age Group

Amblyopia most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 1-7 years

Common Gender

Amblyopia can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Amblyopia

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Amblyopia:
  • Binocular retinal birefringence scanning: To identify amblyopia
  • Visual acuity: To determine the visual disorders
  • Lang stereotest: To diagnose the amblyopia

Doctor for Diagnosis of Amblyopia

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Amblyopia:
  • Ophthalmologist

Complications of Amblyopia if untreated

Yes, Amblyopia causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Amblyopia is left untreated:
  • visual impairment

Procedures for Treatment of Amblyopia

The following procedures are used to treat Amblyopia:
  • Surgery: To correct certain eye problems causing amblyopia
  • Bangerter filter: To stimulate the weaker eye via blurring the stronger eye

Self-care for Amblyopia

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Amblyopia:
  • Exercise regularly: Exerts different effects on brain and behavior
  • Play video game: Improves contrast sensitivity

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Amblyopia

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Amblyopia:
  • Use eye patching: To stimulate the weaker eye by forcing the brain to use the other eye

Patient Support for Treatment of Amblyopia

The following actions may help Amblyopia patients:
  • Parental education and support: To maximise compliance with treatment

Time for Treatment of Amblyopia

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Amblyopia to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Amblyopia.
Eye Diseases
Vision Impairment and Blindness

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