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Amblyopia
  • What is amblyopia or lazy eye?

    Amblyopia is the unexplained loss or lack of development of vision in one eye unrelated to any eye health problem. It is usually not fully correctable with lenses and there is no apparent cause for the poor vision. The brain, for some reason, is incapable or refuses to acknowledge the images seen with the amblyopic eye.
  • Who is likely to develop amblyopia?

    Amblyopia is generally the result of poor initial visual development and, as such, usually occurs before the age of five or six. It is estimated that two to four percent of children under six have amblyopia. The odds of amblyopia developing during adulthood are extremely rare.
  • What causes amblyopia?

    The exact cause of amblyopia is unclear. Amblyopia usually results from a failure of the visual system to use both eyes together. If there is a large difference in the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness between the two eyes, or if the eyes are crossed, the brain learns to ignore one image in favor of the other.
  • How does amblyopia affect vision?

    Normally the images sent by each eye to the brain are identical. When they differ, double vision occurs. Rather than go through life with double vision, the brain soon learns to simply ignore the image sent by one eye and "see" only with the good eye. The eye that is ignored grows weaker from disuse.
  • Is the amblyopic eye blind?

    The ambloyopia eye is never blind in a sense of being entirely without sight. Amblyopia affects only the central vision of the affected eye; peripheral awareness will remain.
  • What are the signs of amblyopia?

    Amblyopia is usually accompanied by crossed eyes or a high degree of difference in refractive error between the two eyes. A child may also exhibit noticeable favoring of one eye and may have a tendency to bump into objects on one particular side.
  • How is amblyopia (lazy eye) diagnosed?

    A thorough optometric examination will determine the presence of amblyopia. The earlier it is diagnosed, however, the greater the chance for complete recovery. That is why it is important to have a child's vision examined before the age of the three and again when entering school. Since amblyopia occurs only in one eye, the good eye takes over and the individual is generally unaware of the condition.
  • How is amblyopia treated?

    Corrective lenses, prisms, contact lenses and/or vision therapy are often used to treat amblyopia. In less developed cases, patching the good eye often stimulates and strengthens the amblyopic eye, in more advanced situations, other vision therapy techniques are used.
  • Does amblyopia get progressively worse?

    The vision of the eye itself does not get worse; the brain simply pays less and less attention to the images sent by the amblyopia eye. The condition stabilizes when the eye becomes virtually unused. Since it is quite difficult to correct amblyopia at that point, early detection and treatment are extremely important.
  • Is amblyopia preventable?

    Early detection and treatment of crossed-eyes and severe refractive errors can help to reduce the chances of one eye becoming amblyopic.
  • How great a handicap is amblyopia?

    Amblyopia is a handicap because it can limit the types of work and leisure activities that you can do. It may affect your ability to be hired for certain jobs or careers. In addition, should your good eye become injured or develop vision problems, you may have great difficulty in maintaining your normal activities.