This condition is commonly called “lazy eye” and occurs when one eye develops differently than the other eye. This causes one eye to be weaker than the other. Often times the two eyes cannot function together because of one being too weak. Most times the patient with Amblyopia causes one eye to do most of the work in seeing. Other times, the eyes are misaligned, causing one eye to totally “shut down” to avoid double vision issues. Regardless of the cause, the result is a weakened eye.

It’s hard to spot an amblyopic eye. Sometimes in a child, the parents will notice that the child favor one eye over the other when focusing on an object.  Another possible symptom is the child frequently bumps into things on one side vs the other. The best way to tell if your child has amblyopia is through a complete eye exam around six months to three years. Early diagnosis can prevent amblyopia from leading to more serious problems such as loss of ability to have depth of field vision and dimensional ability to see binocularly as in healthy two eyed patients. If left untreated, the amblyopic patient can lose vision and become functionally blind in one eye.

Most of the time amblyopia can’t be entirely corrected. The amblyopic eye will always be a bit weaker than the other. However, with treatment, vision in the amblyopic eye can be improved to some extent. Treatment options involve encouraging the weak eye to develop. This is done using eye patches, vision therapy, glasses, and usually a combination of the three. The strong eye may be patched to encourage the weak eye to develop. Vision therapy can help to correct improper use of the eyes. Most often, the amblyopic eye will always require glasses.