amblyopia

Also known as “lazy eye.” Amblyopia occurs at a young age from disuse when an eye doesn’t see well. A child’s visual nervous system is still developing until age seven. If during this developmental period, one eye has poorer vision, the “brain wiring” for that eye does not form as strongly as the better eye. This can occur because of early nearsightedness or early farsightedness or from other visual problems such as congenital cataract.  This imbalance can also occur if the eyes are in poor alignment (like being cross-eyed).  If detected early, amblyopia can be reversed. This is typically accomplished with glasses and patching therapy – by patching the “good eye” closed, this forces the lazy eye to “work” and reform its wiring.  There is no way to fix a lazy eye in adulthood as the brain wiring has already formed and the amblyopic eye will never see quite as well.

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Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:

2 COMMENTS

  1. Lazy eye is fairly common … some studies show that up to two percent of the population suffers from this.

    Treatment can be a challenge, however. The mainstay is correcting any focus problems (usually hyperopia) with glasses and patching. Patching can be a real challenge for parents, however, as children hate this and fight nonstop.

    Most of the visual wiring has developed by the age of seven … and little can be done to fix visual imbalance after this point. I often still recommend some patching up to around age ten as there have been case reports of older children improving their vision.

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