Information for Patients
Also called: Lazy eye
Amblyopia, or "lazy eye," is the most common cause of visual impairment in children. It happens when an eye fails to work properly with the brain. The eye may look normal, but the brain favors the other eye. In some cases, it can affect both eyes. Causes include
- Strabismus - a disorder in which the two eyes don't line up in the same direction
- Refractive error in an eye - when one eye cannot focus as well as the other, because of a problem with its shape. This includes nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
- Cataract - a clouding in the lens of the eye
It can be hard to diagnose amblyopia. It is often found during a routine vision exam.
Treatment for amblyopia forces the child to use the eye with weaker vision. There are two common ways to do this. One is to have the child wear a patch over the good eye for several hours each day, over a number of weeks to months. The other is with eye drops that temporarily blur vision. Each day, the child gets a drop of a drug called atropine in the stronger eye. It is also sometimes necessary to treat the underlying cause. This could include glasses or surgery.
NIH: National Eye Institute
- Amblyopia (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Facts about Amblyopia - NIH (National Eye Institute)
- Standard ophthalmic exam (Medical Encyclopedia)
Eye Movement Disorders
When you look at an object, you're using several muscles to move both eyes to focus on it. If you have a problem with the muscles, the eyes don't work properly.
There are many kinds of eye movement disorders. Two common ones are
- Strabismus - a disorder in which the two eyes don't line up in the same direction. This results in "crossed eyes" or "walleye."
- Nystagmus - fast, uncontrollable movements of the eyes, sometimes called "dancing eyes"
Some eye movement disorders are present at birth. Others develop over time and may be associated with other problems, such as injuries. Treatments include glasses, patches, eye muscle exercises, and surgery. There is no cure for some kinds of eye movement disorders, such as most kinds of nystagmus.
- Cranial mononeuropathy III (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Cranial mononeuropathy VI (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Eye muscle repair (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Nystagmus (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Strabismus (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Supranuclear ophthalmoplegia (Medical Encyclopedia)