Amblyopia usually affects only one eye.
The problem starts between birth and about age 7. Your child may not even know that he or she is using only one eye. Ignoring the images from the weak eye is an automatic response. Your child has no control over it.
Early treatment usually can reverse amblyopia. The younger your child is when treatment starts, the more likely your child is to have good vision.
Amblyopia is sometimes called "lazy eye."
Any condition that prevents your child's eyes from forming a clear, focused image or that prevents the normal use of one or both eyes can cause amblyopia. It may happen when:
Your child may be more likely to have amblyopia if someone else in your family had it or if your child had a premature birth or low birth weight.
In most cases, amblyopia does not cause symptoms. But your child may:
Your child’s doctor will do an eye exam. If the exam shows that your child has poor vision in one eye, the doctor may diagnose amblyopia after ruling out other causes.
To help make the diagnosis, the doctor will ask about symptoms, any family members who have had vision problems, other possible risk factors such as low birth weight, and whether your child has trouble reading, seeing the board in school, or watching TV.
Experts suggest that children have an eye checkup between the ages of 3 and 5, and earlier in some cases.1 If you worry about your child’s eyes or vision, take him or her to an eye doctor. No child is too young for an eye exam.
For amblyopia to be treated, your child must use the weak eye. This will force the eye to get stronger. Over time this corrects the vision in the weak eye.
Your doctor may suggest:
Your child may have to wear the patch or glasses all the time or for just part of each day. Treatment may last for a few weeks or months. Severe cases may take longer.
If another problem is causing the amblyopia, such as a cataract, it also needs to be treated.
Treatment is best started before age 6 and should begin before your child's vision has fully developed, around age 9 or 10. Later treatment will most likely be less helpful but may still improve vision in some cases. A child with amblyopia who does not get treatment may have poor vision for life.
After treatment ends, be sure to set up follow-up eye exams for your child. Amblyopia can return even after successful treatment.
Treatment sounds simple, but using an eye patch or glasses may bother your child. To help your child:
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
|Actionsets are designed to help people take an active role in managing a health condition.|
|Amblyopia: Wearing an Eye Patch|
Learning about amblyopia:
Living with amblyopia:
|American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus|
|P.O. Box 193832|
|San Francisco, CA 94119-3832|
The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) provides information and encourages research on medical and surgical eye care for children and adults with strabismus.
|Eye Patch Club (Prevent Blindness America)|
|211 West Wacker Drive|
|Chicago, IL 60606|
Prevent Blindness America is a leading volunteer eye health and safety organization in the United States. It provides the general public and eye professionals with educational, community, and consumer services. Local affiliates exist in many states.
The Eye Patch Club is a special program that offers a newsletter, calendars, classroom guides, and other resources for families coping with a child's amblyopia treatment.
|P.O. Box 7424|
|San Francisco, CA 94120-7424|
EyeSmart is a public information Web site provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. It provides general information and brochures on eye conditions and diseases and low-vision resources and services.
|KidsHealth for Parents, Children, and Teens|
|10140 Centurion Parkway North|
|Jacksonville, FL 32256|
This website is sponsored by the Nemours Foundation. It has a wide range of information about children's health, from allergies and diseases to normal growth and development (birth to adolescence). This website offers separate areas for kids, teens, and parents, each providing age-appropriate information that the child or parent can understand. You can sign up to get weekly emails about your area of interest.
|National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health|
|31 Center Drive MSC 2510|
|Bethesda, MD 20892-2510|
As part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the National Eye Institute provides information on eye diseases and vision research. Publications are available to the public at no charge. The Web site includes links to various information resources.
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2011). Vision screening for children 1 to 5 years of age: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Available online: http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/doi/10.1542/peds.2010-3177.
Other Works Consulted
- American Academy of Ophthalmology (1992, revised 2007). Pediatric Eye Evaluations: Screening and Comprehensive Ophthalmic Evaluation. Preferred Practice Patterns. San Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology. Available online: http://one.aao.org/ce/practiceguidelines/ppp_content.aspx?cid=621682dc-7871-4351-830e-545b1273d84c.
- American Academy of Ophthalmology Pediatric Ophthalmology/Strabismus Panel (1992, revised 2007). Amblyopia. National Guideline Clearinghouse. Available online: http://one.aao.org/ce/practiceguidelines/ppp_content.aspx?cid=930d01f2-740b-433e-a973-cf68565bd27b.
- Diamond GR (2009). Amblyopia. In M Yanoff, JS Duker, eds., Ophthalmology, 3rd ed., pp. 1362–1367. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
- Wright KW (2008). Amblyopia and strabismus. In Pediatric Ophthalmology for Primary Care, 3rd ed., pp. 21–33. Elk Grove Village: American Academy of Pediatrics.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology|
|Last Revised||June 24, 2011|
Last Revised: June 24, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
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