What is amblyopia?
Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, is the most common eye disorder in children. In amblyopia, vision in one of the eyes is impaired because the eye and the brain are not working together properly. Amblyopia can be caused by misalignment between the two eyes, or strabismus. Sometimes amblyopia develops when one eye is more nearsighted, farsighted or astigmatic (has impaired ability to focus) than the other eye. Amblyopia should be treated in early childhood to prevent it from becoming permanent. However, a national study led by Johns Hopkins Children’s Center recently showed that even older children may benefit from treatment.
- Eyes that turn in or out
- Eyes that do not appear to work together
An eye exam is required for diagnosis.
Amblyopia is treated by forcing the “lazy” eye to work more actively. The two methods are:
Atropine: a drug administered in the form of eye drops into the stronger eye, temporarily weakening vision it and thus forcing the weaker eye to work harder. This method also stimulates the part of the brain that controls vision.
Patching: a patch is placed over the strong eye and worn for several weeks or months. Covering the strong eye stimulates the weak eye.
When to Call for Help
If you see any of the above symptoms in your child, consult a pediatric ophthalmologist.