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Amblyopia, commonly referred to as “lazy eye”, is a condition of poor vision in one eye, which cannot be immediately improved to 20/20 with a new glasses or contact lens prescription.

Amblyopia often presents in a syndrome of multiple defects, possibly including:

  1. Unsteady and inaccurate fixation

  2. Poor eye tracking ability

  3. Inaccurate focusing of the muscles inside the eye

  4. Inaccurate focusing of the optics of the eye(s)


This condition usually develops before age 9 years and is diagnosed by an eye doctor.  Approximately 12% of the American public suffer from some form of amblyopia.

Amblyopia may be caused by one or more of the following causes:

  1. Blocked vision in the affected eye (congenital cataract, severe lid droop, etc.)

  2. Constant strabismus (eye turns in or out) of the affected eye

  3. Severe uncorrected refractive error (blurred vision due to need for glasses)

  4. Significant focusing difference between the two eyes


The degree of amblyopia can vary from mild to severe, depending upon the cause(s) and duration of time.  Early diagnosis and treatment generally yields better long-term vision.

Therapy options for amblyopia vary depending upon the specific cause(s).  General treatment options may include:

  1. Spectacle or contact lens correction of focusing problem(s).  Often bifocal or prismatic glasses are required.

  2. Occlusion therapy involves covering the good eye with a patch to make the amblyopic eye focus and stimulate the brain to develop better vision.

  3. Prescription eye drops in the better eye to make the amblyopic eye focus and stimulate the brain to develop better vision.

  4. Active vision therapy (orthoptics) trains the eyes to focus and align together and improve the vision of the amblyopic eye.

  5. Surgical correction for strabismus (eyes turning noticeably in or out) which persists to exist when glasses are worn.


The goal of therapy is to provide as much long-term functional vision as possible before age 9 as most patients do not achieve much improvement in vision development after this age.

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