Amblyopia is often referred to using the non-medical term “lazy eye”. Amblyopia
results when an eye and the brain are not working properly together. The most common
causes of amblyopia are large differences in prescription need between the two eyes,
strabismus (the eyes not pointing in the same direction), or an inability to see
out of one eye from birth. To overcome this situation the brain generally suppresses
or ignores much of the information from one of the eyes. Once this occurs the effected
eye cannot achieve a normal level of vision despite an accurate prescription.
The successful treatment of amblyopia is highly dependent on the age of the patient.
A young child has a better prognosis for recovering normal vision. Treatment generally
includes eyeglasses, patching or occluding the normal eye to force the "lazy" amblyopic
eye to work, and sometimes vision therapy. As a general rule, amblyopia treatment
has little benefit after the visual system matures. The point in time at which this
occurs is highly variable from six months to twelve years of age.