Bright Sight

Oliver Backhouse, Consultant Eye Surgeon

Ambylopia (Lazy Eye)

What is amblyopia?

Amblyopia is sometimes called a 'lazy eye'. Although we are born with a brain and an eye the connections between the two need a good focused image to allow the correct ‘wiring’ to occur. If this does not occur in early childhood then amblyopia develops. The visual loss of amblyopia cannot be corrected by wearing glasses in later life.

What causes amblyopia?

There are three main causes: A squint where the eyes are not aligned together; Poor light getting into the eye as with a congenital cataract; Difference in the prescription between the eyes – in this latter circumstance the eye which is more longsighted can develop amblyopia. About 1 in 25 children develop some degree of amblyopia.

Treatment for amblyopia.

Any underlying eye disorder should be corrected if possible. Glasses along with patching the good eye can ‘force’ the visual pathway of the amblyopic eye to develop. Patching does not usually improve any squint. It can last for a few months or may have to be continued in an on and off manner during the period of sight development which is up until approximately eight years of age. After this age the amblyopic eye can’t be improved.