What Is Amblyopia?

Can My Child’s Lazy Eye Be Corrected?

Amblyopia, commonly known as “lazy eye”, is partial or complete loss of vision in one eye due to conditions that prevent normal development. In amblyopia, the brain favors one eye and, basically, ignores the other, leading to lack of stimulation and maturity in the brain cells associated with that eye. The most common cause of monocular (one eye) blindness, it affects between 2 and 3 percent of children in the United States.

The conditions that lead to amblyopia, include:

Diagnosing Amblyopia

The key to treating amblyopia is discovering it as early as possible. Parents may not have any indication that there is a problem, which makes it even more important to have a child’s eyes checked as early as 6 months and then again by age 3. Children should definitely be tested before they reach school-age. Some things that a pediatric eye doctor will be looking for are:

For some cases of amblyopia, treatment may require surgery, but the main method involves forcing the weaker eye to focus. This is usually done by placing a patch over the stronger eye or, sometimes, using eye drops to cause blurry vision in the stronger eye. Some doctors may suggest wearing special glasses that have a lens that blocks or blurs the vision in the good eye. It may take some time, but the weaker eye should start strengthening.  

Even though amblyopia is often called “lazy eye”, this is not an accurate descriptor. The word “amblyopia” comes from the Greek “amblys” meaning blunt, dull, faint, or dim and “ops” meaning eye. So, literally, when referring to vision, amblyopia means dim vision. No matter what it is called, amblyopia is a very serious condition. Not only can it have a major effect on a child’s vision, but it can also have significant psychological implications.

Heredity seems to play a role in the likelihood of a child having amblyopia, so, if it is or has been present in other family members, make sure to have your child checked early and regularly. Remember, it won’t be obvious in the beginning, and you may not be able to tell simply by looking. Your eye doctor has the tools and skills to make the diagnosis. While there are treatment options that can be effective, the key to good results is early detection and treatment.  

If you believe that your child may have amblyopia, Long Island Ophthalmic Concepts is ready to provide high-quality, comprehensive care in our three convenient Long Island office locations. For more information about pediatric eye care, or if you have other questions or comments, please call the office most convenient to you, Bellmore, Great Neck, Little Neck or Huntington. If you would like to schedule an appointment, simply click here to go to our online scheduler.

You Might Also Enjoy...

When Are Floaters a Medical Problem?

Nearly everyone has floaters, those tiny, squiggly lines that dart in front of your vision, and typically, they’re nothing to worry about. But sometimes, they can be a sign of a serious problem. Here’s when floaters need to be evaluated by our team.

How to Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic eye disease is a common complication for millions of Americans with diabetes. If you have diabetes, taking steps to protect your eyes and your vision is imperative. Here’s what you can do.

5 Symptoms of Cataracts You Should Be Aware Of

Cataracts become much more common with age, affecting millions of Americans over age 40. Recognizing cataract symptoms can help you get treatment immediately, so you can continue enjoying clear vision.

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Skip an Eye Exam

It’s easy to find excuses to skip your next eye exam, but it could cost you your vision. In this post, you’ll learn six reasons to resist the temptation to cancel your next comprehensive eye exam.