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Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

Amblyopia is also known as “lazy eye”. It is a condition in which vision in one eye or both eyes cannot be corrected to 20/20 even after the correct glasses are worn. This is due to an abnormal development of vision during infancy or childhood.  Approximately 3% of children and young adults have amblyopia.

In order to see with 20/20 vision, the brain receives information from both the right and the left eye and combines the two images to see one clear picture of the world. When we combine the images, this is called “fusion”. If the brain cannot fuse the images together, it will learn to ignore or suppress the information from the eye seeing a blurry image, ultimately leading to deterioration of vision in that eye.

The three most common types of Amblyopia:

  1. Strabismic Amblyopia is usually caused by a crossed eye or one eye turning inwards, outwards, upwards, or downwards on straight gaze. The turned eye is not used by the brain since it is misaligned and this leads to deterioration or lack of vision development in that eye.

  2. Refractive Amblyopia due to a difference in prescription between the two eyes. This can occur when there is a significantly higher prescription in one eye than the other leading to the brain preferring to use one eye over the other.

  3. Refractive amblyopia due to high degree of prescription in both eyes. If the child at a young age have a very high prescription and is not corrected by glasses, the brain will slow down vision development in both eyes causing poor vision.