Amblyopia is a loss of vision, or poor vision, in an eye that did not develop correctly in early childhood. Also called lazy eye, in patients with amblyopia - one eye (the amblyopic eye) has weaker vision than the other eye. While amblyopia most often affects one eye, it can occur in both.baby having eye test
 
Amblyopia starts in childhood, and is the most common cause of vision loss in children. Up to three out of 100 children have it. The good news is early treatment works well and usually prevents long-term vision problems.
 
Symptoms of Lazy Eye
 
Symptoms of amblyopia can be hard to notice because the condition usually develops in one eye, and may not present with a noticeable eye turn. In addition, children generally learn how to ignore the lazy eye and compensate by using the other eye. Children with amblyopia may also have poor depth perception. Other symptoms may include:
 
  • Squinting
  • Shutting one eye
  • Tilting their head
  • A cross-eyed appearance
  • Poor eye-hand coordination 

In many cases, parents don’t know their child has amblyopia until a doctor diagnoses it during an eye exam.
 
Risk Factors
 
Some children are born with amblyopia and others develop it later in childhood. The chances of having amblyopia are higher in children who:

newborn baby
  • Were born premature
  • Were smaller than average at birth
  • Have a family history of amblyopia, childhood cataracts, or other eye conditions
  • Have developmental disabilities 
 
Causes

There are three causes of lazy eye:
 
Strabismic Amblyopia 

Strabismus is the most common cause of lazy eye. Strabismic amblyopia is caused by a misalignment of the eyes. The weak eye is often suppressed to prevent double vision.
 
Refractive Amblyopia 

Sometimes, a lazy eye is caused by unequal refractive errors in the two eyes, despite perfect eye alignment. This occurs when there is a high degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness in one or both eyes.
 
Deprivation Amblyopia 

The least common type of amblyopia is caused by something that obstructs light from entering and being focused in a baby's eye, such as a congenital cataract.
 
Treatment
 
Treatment includes eye patches, drops, glasses or contact lenses, and sometimes surgery. For most children with lazy eye, proper treatment improves vision within weeks to several months. Treatment might last from six months to two years. Untreated, lazy eye can cause permanent vision loss.
 
Comprehensive eye exams are highly recommended for all infants and pre-school children to confirm healthy vision development and to rule out any problems. If there is a family history of lazy eye, it is important to have your child examined regularly, as lazy eye can be an inherited condition.Toddlers
 
Early detection and vision screenings are important because the parts of the brain that control vision are developed early in life. The best time to treat amblyopia is in infancy and early childhood.
 
The Eye Institute of Salus University (TEI) has a specialized, pediatric department, devoted to providing top-quality care for children’s eye issues. For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of TEI’s pediatric optometrists call 215.276.6111