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Amblyopia

A “lazy eye” is more than just a poor work ethic.

Amblyopia, or “lazy eye”, is a lack of central vision development in one or both eyes that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. It usually develops before the age of 6 during visual brain development. There are three types: Refractive, strabismic, and occlusive. Refractive amblyopia occurs when one or both eyes has a high prescription that is uncorrected. The child will be unable to see 20/20 because the brain never was able to see clearly during visual development and never learned how to see 20/20. In strabismic amblyopia, one eye turned inward or outward and caused the brain to have double vision. Since this is not pleasant, the brain will just “turn off” the deviating eye. That eye will never learn to see 20/20 if it is not being used. Occlusive amblyopia occurs when something physically blocks the eye such as a congenital cataract or a droopy eyelid. The eye cannot learn to see clearly if it cannot see at all.

Treatment for lazy eye may include a combination of prescription lenses, prisms, vision therapy and eye patching. While results are better if treatment is initiated before age 6 before visual development is complete, it is possible to have improved vision from treatment at any age.