OHSU

Amblyopia

_MG_0407_250pxAmblyopia is the dimming of vision in one eye as a result of that eye having poorer vision than the other. The condition occurs in children. Without treatment, amblyopia can lead to poor vision development or significant vision loss in the weaker eye.

Causes of Amblyopia

Amblyopia is usually caused when one eye focuses much better than the other. The developing brain learns to ignore the blurry image from the weaker eye and use the clear information from the other. As the child gets older, the brain can stop using the information from one eye altogether.

Another cause of amblyopia is strabismus, often called “lazy eye” because one eye appears to wander. Strabismus is an eye alignment problem. The developing brain generally chooses to ignore the image from the misaligned eye, causing the vision in that eye to get worse. Children can also develop amblyopia when something blocks light from reaching the retina at the back of the eye. Strabismus and blocked vision can require surgery.

Treatment of Amblyopia

Amblyopia is treated by concentrating the visual signals form the weaker eye and limiting the use of the stronger eye. Your child's doctor may prescribe an eye patch to cover the good eye or drops to make the vision in that eye blurry. This forces the child's brain to use the information from the weaker eye. Over weeks or months, this eye will develop better vision.