Amblyopia is commonly referred to as “lazy eye.” If left untreated as a child, amblyopia continues into adulthood. At one time it was believed that amblyopia among adults could not be treated. Fortunately, current research shows otherwise. Older teenagers and adults are being treated for amblyopia.
Amblyopia is the medical term for decreased vision (or loss of vision) in one or both eyes, caused because vision did not develop normally during childhood.
There are three types of amblyopia:
develops when the eyes are not aligned. If an eye turn exists, the brain begins to ignore or “turn off” the eye that is not straight.
develops when cataracts or similar conditions disrupts the eye of visual stimulation.
develops when there is a large, or unequal, amount of refractive error (prescription) between the eyes.
Amblyopia affects approximately 1 in every 25 people. Nearly half of amblyopia cases are due to misalignment of the eyes. The remaining cases are caused by a combination of factors including high and/or asymmetric refractive errors (farsightedness, nearsightedness) or structural abnormalities of the eye.
Treatment is specific to each patient and can include one or more of the following:
- Eyeglasses or contacts - to help improve vision
- Patching of the normal eye - a few hours each day to help improve eye alignment
- Eye drops - to temporarily blur vision in the normal eye with the goal to strengthen vision in the affected eye
- Vision therapy - an option to correct eye alignment and improve vision in the affected eye
If you are having any abnormal visual symptoms, or suspect you may have amblyopia, please contact our office. An examination and consultation with one of our doctors can provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.