Amblyopia or “lazy eye” is a very common vision problem that we see in children. In fact it is responsible for more vision loss in kids than all other reasons combined. Amblyopia is a decrease in the child’s vision that occurs even without any structural problem being present. The decrease in vision results when one or both eyes send a blurry image to the brain. The brain then “learns” to only see blurry with that eye, even when glasses are used. Only children can get amblyopia. If it is not treated, it can cause permanent loss of vision. There are a number of types of amblyopia including strabismic amblyopia which is caused by an eye alignment or eye turning problem, deprivation amblyopia which is caused by cataracts or other condition that “deprives” the eye of a visual image and refractive amblyopia which is due to an uncorrected refractive error such as farsightedness or astigmatism.
Depending on the cause of the amblyopia and whether there is an underlying uncorrected refractive error sometime glasses can help but will not correct the vision to 20/20. With amblyopia, the brain is “used to” seeing a blurry image and it cannot interpret the clear image that the glasses produce. With time, however, the brain may “re-learn” how to see and the vision may increase. Remember, glasses alone do not increase the vision all the way to 20/20, as the brain is used to seeing blurry with that eye. Because of this most of the time the normal eye is treated with patching or eye drops to force the amblyopic eye to be used and make it “stronger.” to make the amblyopic (weak) eye stronger.
The Eye Care & Surgery Center is located at 592 Springfield Avenue, Westfield, New Jersey 07090, 10 Mountain Boulevard, Warren, New Jersey 07059 and 517 Route One South, Suite 1100, Iselin, New Jersey 08830, and is conveniently located for patients from throughout central and northern New Jersey.AA