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Amblyopia is defined as poor vision in an eye that did not develop normal sight during early childhood. It is sometimes called a “lazy eye.” This condition is common, affecting approximately 2 or 3 out of every 100 people. The best time to correct amblyopia is during infancy or early childhood.

Amblyopia is caused by any condition that affects normal use of the eyes and visual development. In many cases, the condition associated with amblyopia may be inherited. Children in a family with a history of amblyopia or misaligned eyes should be checked by an ophthalmologist early in life. 

Amblyopia has three major causes:

  • Strabismus (misaligned eyes) — Amblyopia occurs most commonly with misaligned or crossed eyes. The crossed eye “turns off” to avoid double vision and the child uses only the better eye.
  • Unequal focus (refractive error) — Refractive errors are eye conditions that are corrected by wearing glasses. Amblyopia occurs when one eye is out of focus because it is more nearsighted, farsighted or astigmatic than the other.The unfocused eye “turns off” and becomes amblyopic. The eye can look normal but one eye has poor vision. This is the most difficult type of amblyopia to detect since it requires careful measurement of vision.
  • Cloudiness in the normally clear eye tissue — An eye disease such as a congenital cataract may lead to amblyopia. Any factor that prevents a clear image from being focused inside the eye can lead to the development of amblyopia in a child. This is often the most severe form of amblyopia.

Treatment Overview

Amblyopia cannot usually be cured by treating the cause alone. The weaker eye must be made stronger in order to see normally. Successful treatment mostly depends on your interest and involvement, as well as your ability to gain you child’s cooperation. In most cases, parents play an important role in determining whether their child’s amblyopia is to be corrected.

Our Location

Kalamazoo Ophthalmology

3412 West Centre Street
Portage, MI 49024