Amblyopia, which is more commonly known as “lazy eye” among most individuals, is an eye condition in which one eye develops good vision, while the other does not. Lazy eye affects roughly three out of every 100 people, and is best treated during infancy or early childhood. When lazy eye is left untreated, the person it affects can go on to experience visual defects in that particular eye, such as problems with depth perception and a lifetime of poor vision.


    Lazy eye can be hereditary, but is also commonly caused by having crossed or misaligned eyes, problems with focus and refractive errors, and by the development of cataracts, or the clouding of the eye’s clear lens. In most cases, lazy eye is often caused by cataracts, since any factor that prevents clear images from being focused on the retina can lead to problems with vision. Individuals who suffer from astigmatism, nearsightedness, or farsightedness can also go on to develop lazy eye.


    Many individuals think that lazy eye can be detected simply by looking for an eye that wanders inward or outward, or in another direction from the other eye. On the contrary, lazy eye is not always easily detected in children unless they undergo an eye examination by an ophthalmologist.

    Common symptoms of lazy eye to look for in children are:

  • Overall poor vision or poor vision in one specific eye
  • Headaches
  • Squinting, closing one eye, or tilting the head to see better
  • Problems with depth perception
  • If you’re a parent of a child who exhibits one or more of the behaviors listed above, make an appointment for an eye exam as soon as possible so your eye doctor can diagnose and treat lazy eye before it worsens.


    Common treatments for lazy eye include wearing either prescription glasses or an eyepatch, or administering eye drops that cause blurry vision in the strong eye. The goal of lazy eye treatment is to strengthen the lazy eye, in which case forcing the child to use, exercise, and strengthen the affected eye will lead to an improvement in vision.

    If your eye doctor learns that cataracts are causing lazy eye, then cataract surgery may be needed to correct the affected eye. When lazy eye is detected and treated early on, you can reduce the risk for future vision problems down the road.

    Posted December 4, 2014 by Silverstein Eye Centers
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