Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

Amblyopia is a condition that can develop in children when one eye provides a different image to the brain compared with the other eye. For example, if there is a large difference in the glasses prescription between the two eyes, and no glasses have been prescribed, then one eye will see much better than the other eye. The brain will then be presented with essentially two different images, which it needs to fuse into one image. In children, the brain reacts to this situation by suppressing, or ignoring, the image from one eye. While this is a useful function of the brain at first, because it prevents confusion and double vision, if this is not remedied, it becomes a permanent condition, and the eye which is being suppressed will never see well in the future. At Ophthalmology Associates, one of our most important tasks is to identify amblyopia in its early stages. In many cases, if it is recognized, medical intervention through either spectacles, medication, eye patching, or in some cases, surgery, can allow both eyes to see well and for the brain to learn to "speak" to both eyes. For this reason, we recommend that all children be examined soon after birth. This is frequently done by a pediatrician. An ophthalmologist should also examine the child, usually around the time the child enters kindergarten. Of course, if any issue is suspected by the parents, the nurse, the preschool teacher, or anyone who has frequent contact with the child, we recommend that they be examined in our office at that time. At Ophthalmology Associates, we pride ourselves on providing lifelong eye care. Children are an important part of our practice.