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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.