Family Eye Health & Contact Lens Center

All About Vision – Seeing More Clearly

What is amblyopia?

on December 22, 2011

Amblyopia (say this: “am-blee-oh-pee-ah”) commonly known as lazy eye, is the eye condition noted by reduced vision not correctable by glasses or contact lenses and is not due to any eye disease. The brain does not fully acknowledge the images seen by the amblyopic eye. This almost always affects only one eye, but may manifest with reduction of vision in both eyes. It is estimated that three percent of children under six have some form of amblyopia.

Causes of Lazy Eye Anything that interferes with clear vision in either eye during the critical period (birth to 6 years of age) can cause amblyopia. The most common causes of amblyopia are constant strabismus (constant turn of one eye), anisometropia (different vision/prescriptions in each eye), and/or blockage of an eye due to cataract, trauma, lid droop, etc. Amblyopia is a neurologically active process,the loss of vision takes place in the brain. If one eye sees clearly and the other sees a blur, the brain can inhibit (block, ignore, suppress) the eye with the blur. The brain can also suppress one eye to avoid double vision. The inhibition process (suppression) can result in a permanent decrease in the vision in the blurry eye that can not be corrected with glasses,  contact lenses, or lasik surgery. 

An eye exam by a pediatrician or the 20/20 eye chart screening is not adequate for the detection of amblyopia (and other visual conditions). The most important diagnostic tools are the special visual acuity tests other than the 20/20 letter charts currently used by schools, pediatricians and eye doctors. Examination with cycloplegic drops can be necessary to detect this condition in the young. Since amblyopia usually occurs in one eye only, many parents and children are unaware of the condition. Many children go undiagnosed until they have their eyes examined at the eye doctor’s office at a later age. Comprehensive vision evaluations are highly recommended for infants and pre-school children. If not detected and treated early in life, amblyopia can cause perminant loss of vision and depth perception.

If you have concerns or questions about your child and amblyopia please contact us here at Family Eye Health. 

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