Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)

What is Lazy Eye?

Lazy eye (Amblyopia) is a disorder of sight that occurs when the eye and the brain are not working well together. Lazy eye is a condition in which the child’s eyesight doesn’t develop properly. In most cases the problem affects only one eye but sometimes the condition can affect both eyes. Lazy eye causes reduced vision in an eye that otherwise looks fine.

When a person has amblyopia the brain directs its attention to one eye and completely neglects the other eye (lazy eye). In the United States and England, Amblyopia affects 2% to 3% of all children and is the most common cause of partial or total blindness in one eye in the United States.

It’s important to note that the term lazy eye is inaccurate because the eye is not lazy. Lazy brain is actually a more accurate description of what lazy eye really is because lazy eye is due to improper brain development. Lazy eye could be caused by strabismus (misaligned eyes) and anisometropia (high degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism in one or both eyes).

What are the Symptoms of Lazy Eye?

Lazy eye may cause reductions in visual acuity, contrast sensitivity function, vernier acuity, spatial distortion, abnormal spatial interactions, and impaired contour detection. Individuals with Amblyopia may also suffer from binocular abnormalities such as impaired stereoacuity (stereoscopic acuity) and binocular summation which is a process by which the brain combines the information from both eyes.

How is Lazy Eye Treated?

Involves treating an underlying eye problem and getting the affected eye to work so that vision can develop. Eye glasses may be prescribed and cataracts may be surgically removed to improve the vision in the lazy eye. Some may use an eye patch over the good eye which may force the lazy eye to work and get better.

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Last Reviewed:
October 06, 2016
Last Updated:
August 31, 2017