Amblyopia is referred to by patients as a “lazy” eye. Typically, those with amblyopia notice vision issues in one or both eyes. The brain and eyes have to work together for optimal sight. Sometimes the brain will recognize one eye is weaker than the other and rely heavily on the stronger eye for good vision. This allows the weaker eye can wander.
Amblyopia usually is caused when an eye does not completely develop normal sight in the first several years of life, so the best time to correct amblyopia is at a young age; typically as an infant or child. Amblyopia may be an inherited defect and should be noted when you bring your child to a Middlesex Eye Physicians ophthalmologist or optometrist.
Some causes of amblyopia are:
- Strabismus: Eye misalignment caused by muscles that are not moving normally.
- Refractive error or focusing unequally: When one eye is more blurred than another eye and uncorrected by an eyeglass prescription, the brain will want to utilize the ‘good eye’ and turn the weaker eye off which makes the weaker eye amblyopic. This is a difficult one to detect in childhood because the appearance of the eyes look similar but the vision is not.
- Eye disease: A cataract (the natural lens inside your eye becomes cloudy) may blur images reaching the retina causing decreased vision in the eye.
Amblyopia can be diagnosed when seen by your ophthalmologist at a routine eye examination. If the physician notes a great difference between the patients eye when performing an evaluation, they may inform you of the amblyopic eye. Children diagnosed with amblyopia can be prescribed glasses and asked to wear a patch over their stronger eye to allow the weaker eye to gain better vision. If related to an eye muscle imbalance, surgery may be discussed.