Treating Amblyopia In Young Children

Health & Medical Blog

If you have a young child who is displaying signs of not being able to see as well as you believe they should be able to, and you have noticed that they seem to have a "lazy eye", which is pointed in a different direction than the other, they may have a case of amblyopia.

Amblyopia is a disorder in which one or both of the eyes has some degree of blurred vision that cannot be treated with prescription lenses. If the disorder is caught early enough, there is a better chance at reversing the symptoms. If the condition is left without treatment, there is a chance at legal blindness later in life. Here are some of the symptoms of the condition and treatment options available to help in vision restoration.

Different Types Of Amblyopia

If your child is very young, they will not yet know what good vision is compared to bad vision, so they will not be able to let you know that they are having difficulty seeing properly. To avoid seeing double, children with strabismic amblyopia will favor one eye over the other so that they are able to see just one of each object they are looking at. This is the type of amblyopia that is most prevalent in small children and it occurs when an eye is misaligned. The eye that is not favored will start to have blurred vision since the brain is being retrained to not use it to see.

Another type of amblyopia, refractive amblyopia, occurs when the eyes have two different prescriptions, such as one near-sighted eye and one far-sighted eye. The vision difference in eyes not treated with a prescription will lead the child to favor one eye over the other.

Testing For The Condition

If you suspect your child is suffering from blurred vision due to this problem, test their eyes by covering one at a time to see if they become agitated when one of them is not in use. If so, this eye may be in need of some help in regaining vision. Bring your child to an ophthalmologist or optometrist to have their eyes thoroughly tested.

Treatment Options

In cases where children have strabismic amblyopia, they may need to have surgery to realign the eye having difficulty. Afterward, vision therapy is often used to help retrain the eyes to work together as a team. In many cases the child will need to wear an eye patch over their good eye so that the eye with the amblyopia will be used more. This helps teach the brain to use the lazy eye instead of the favored eye. The patch will most likely need to be worn for several hours a day to help the child get used to using the eye with amblyopia.

Another method of treatment is to use special eye drops prescribed by your child's eye doctor. The drop would be put into the favored eye a few times a day. This eye drop distorts the vision so that the amblyopic eye needs to be used instead. After several months of retraining the eye with amblyopia to be used more, the eyes will work better in tandem, possibly saving the child from extreme vision problems. 

For more information on vision therapy go to


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