Amblyopia (also called "lazy eye") is the loss of the ability to see well in one or both eyes, that is commonly caused by strabismus. Other causes for amblyiopia would include significant astigmatism in both eyes, or a considerable difference of either farsightedness or nearsightedness between the two eyes. Occasionally we'll also see amblyopia that is caused by childhood cataracts.
Pediatric amblyopia can be diagnosed with a thorough eye evaluation; if children are treated early (usually before age 5) they will have a good prognosis with amblyopia treatment. Some good news is that recent medical studies (such as PEDIG) suggest that the window of opportunity for treating amblyopia is actually larger than we once thought.
Amblyopia is treated with either a combination of glasses, eye-patching, or atropine penalization. Patching is where you put a patch over the good eye, which then stimulates the brain to use the bad eye.
Atropine penalization is a form of amblyopia treatment where you put in an eye drop to blur the good eye, which then stimulates the brain to use the bad eye.
We treat several thousand patients per year for amblyopia–it is the mainstay of our practice, which is focused on pediatric amblyopia diagnosis and treatment, and adult strabismus diagnosis and treatment.
With good compliance to an amblyopia treatment regimen, and modern pediatric amblyopia treatment methods, most patients have an excellent visual outcome.
Feel free to contact us at 314-997-3937 for an exam if you are looking for a second opinion or diagnosis. Our practice serves the greater St. Louis area; many doctors refer patients to us from Missouri and neighboring states.