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What is Amblyopia?

Amblyopia, commonly referred to as lazy eye, is a developmental vision condition often recognized by a reduced visual acuity in one eye and dominance in the other. Amblyopia may occur secondary to the visual stress of strabismus, uncorrected refractive errors, or if one eye is deprived of stimulus/light information.


Amblyopia commonly occurs in one eye, but can, less frequently, present in both. Although it is usually recognized by decreased vision (or poor visual acuity) in an eye, the condition is a result of disrupted brain-eye visual pathway communication, and the acuity decrease happens as a result.


What are the Symptoms/Signs of Amblyopia?

Sometimes referred to as lazy eye, signs of amblyopia include eye misalignment, closing or squinting one eye, a head turn or tilt, and/or a large difference in one’s glasses prescription between the right and left eye. 

Amblyopia causes difficulties with blurry vision, depth perception, motor coordination, visual perception, reading and learning, contrast sensitivity, and/or driving difficulties. A person with amblyopia will often learn adaptations. Therefore, they may perform well in school or sports, but may still struggle in other areas, making some distinctions between the visual implications harder to discern at times. 


How Can Amblyopia be Treated?

The first step to the treatment of amblyopia is having a comprehensive eye exam with an eye care professional who has attained a Fellowship in the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (FCOVD). 

It used to be thought that amblyopia was best treated with patching and was only effective in childhood. However, amblyopia is now viewed as treatable throughout life and common treatments include prescribed lenses, specially prescribed contact lenses, treatment-specific filters (partial penalization), and vision therapy. 


Vision therapy treatment includes the use of physician-prescribed tools such as optometric phototherapy, red green filters, prisms, lenses, and computerized programs along with integrative exercises designed to improve central and peripheral vision, eye movement and alignment, visual perception, and efficient use of one’s visual skills along with the body and other senses. 


If suspect you or your child may have amblyopia, or if there is a previous diagnosis of the condition, please call our office to schedule a binocular vision evaluation or consultation at (208) 227-8822.

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