Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) st georgeWhat is it? Amblyopia = Vision deficiency of the brain.

Amblyopia, or Lazy eye, occurs when the brain has not learned how to see clearly. The individual cannot see 20/20 even with their best correction.

What causes it?

It can be caused by having an eye turn, but can also be caused by a large amount of farsightedness, astigmatism or even a cataract from birth.

Does it affect one or both eyes? Typically it affects only one eye such as when one eye turns in or out resulting in the brain suppressing one image to avoid double vision or when one eye has such a large degree of farsightedness in one eye only resulting in such a high degree of blur that the brain never receives a clear image from that eye. It can, however, occur in both eyes in rare situations when both eyes have a high degree of farsightedness and/or astigmatism and the individual has never had the appropriate vision correction to supply a clear image to the brain from either eye.

What can we do to correct it?

Get rid of the blur or the thing that is blocking the light from reaching the retina inside the eye.

Treatment for lazy eye may include a combination of prescription lenses, prisms, vision therapy and eye patching and is dependent on the underlying cause. For instance, in situations of crossed eyes, vision therapy teaches the two eyes how to work together, which helps prevent lazy eye from recurring.

Always wear glasses so that the eye can begin to send the best image to the brain. The brain can only see a well as the best signal sent.

How do I know if my child has it?

Symptoms may include noticeably favoring one eye or a tendency to bump into objects on one side. Symptoms are not always obvious.

Early diagnosis increases the chance for a complete recovery. It usually develops before the age of 6, and it does not affect side vision. It is critical that it is caught and treated before the age of 10 when the brain is still developing and is moldable. Amblyopia will not go away on its own. If not diagnosed until the pre-teen, teen or adult years, treatment may take longer and is often not effective. This is one reason children should have yearly eye exams starting at a young age.