AmblyopiaAmblyopia, commonly called lazy eye, occurs when the eyesight in one eye is blurrier than the other, even with glasses or contacts. Amblyopia may be caused by either large differences in the refractive state (farsightedness, nearsightedness or astigmatism), or due to an adaptation to misaligned eyes from strabismus.




It’s hard to spot amblyopia. Sometimes a child will noticeably favor one eye over the other. Another possible symptom is the child frequently bumping into things on one side. The best way to tell if your child has lazy eye is through a complete exam at about six months and again at three years. Early diagnosis can prevent amblyopia from leading to more serious problems, such as loss of the ability to see three dimensions or functional blindness in the amblyopic eye.




The treatment of amblyopia is complex. The underlying refractive differences between the two eyes must first be corrected with either glasses or contact lenses. A patching program where the better is seeing eye is covered is then implemented for at least two to three hours daily. Vision therapy exercises are also given during the time period when the person is patching. Final remediation of an underlying binocular condition such as strabismus, will need to be addressed once the amblyopic eye is seeing closer to the better/normal eye, if the success is to be maintained over time.

Amblyopia therapy can occur at any age, although the earlier the age of treatment, the higher the success rate. There are some conditions which will not respond to amblyopia therapy, but the optometrist will determine whether or not a patching program should be initiated.