Amblyopia, also known as "lazy eye," is a vision development disorder that occurs in early childhood. It is caused by a lack of visual stimulation to one eye, which can lead to the brain favoring the other eye and causing the affected eye to become weaker.
The most common cause of amblyopia is a difference in the prescription between the two eyes, known as anisometropia. This can be caused by a condition such as hypermetropia (farsightedness) or myopia (nearsightedness) in one eye, or a difference in the size or shape of the eyes. Strabismus, or crossed eyes, can also cause amblyopia, as it can cause the brain to ignore input from one eye.
Symptoms of amblyopia can include poor depth perception, double vision, and difficulty seeing fine details. However, many children with amblyopia do not show any visible symptoms, and it is often detected during routine vision screenings.
The most common treatment for amblyopia is eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct any refractive errors in the eyes. Additionally, a patch may be placed over the stronger eye to encourage the weaker eye to work harder. In some cases, surgery may be needed to correct any underlying conditions that are causing the amblyopia.
It is important to catch and treat amblyopia early, as the brain's ability to adapt and change decreases with age. If left untreated, amblyopia can lead to permanent vision loss in the affected eye.