3 Things To Know About Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

by Jan 31, 2023

If your child is prescribed glasses to wear full-time, it is important to wear the glasses as directed by the eye doctor. One of the biggest causes of a lazy eye, also called amblyopia, is one eye consistently not seeing as well as the other. If the prescription between the two eyes is very different, then the better-seeing eye will become too dominant and the worse-seeing eye will not develop to see as well and can become permanently reduced in vision.

Glasses or contact lenses are often prescribed in these cases to ensure that both eyes are seeing equally clearly and working together. While not wearing glasses for a specific activity or even a day or two is not likely to lead to the development of a lazy eye, not wearing the glasses consistently is likely to further imbed the difference between the two eyes.

What is a Lazy Eye?

Commonly called a lazy eye, amblyopia is a condition that can develop in children. This occurs when one of the eyes does not see as well as it should without any disease or pathology causing the reduced vision.

Instead, the reduced vision develops from a lack of stimulation to the eye.

If one eye has a high prescription and the other eye does not, the brain will preferentially use the better-seeing eye and the worse-seeing eye will be effectively shut off.

Amblyopia is considered in cases where the difference in vision is present before the age of ten, as the critical period for visual development ends between age 7 and age 9.

If the difference in vision develops after this age, it is likely that there is a disease or other contributing factor.

How a Amblyopia is Treated

To treat a lazy eye, the underlying cause of the reduced vision must be determined.

There are three main causes of amblyopia: a difference in the prescription powers of the eyes causing one to see clearer than the other, an eye turn that affects the vision in the turned eye, or a physical block of the vision in an eye such as a cataract.

The treatment for a lazy eye will vary based on the type of amblyopia present, but unless the cause is a physical blockage, glasses are usually part of the treatment plan.

Glasses can help equalize the clarity between the eyes or help to bring the eyes together in alignment.

How Not Wearing Glasses May Impact Lazy Eye

Amblyopia is best treated when the child is young and still not past the age of 10.

At this stage, vision in the lazy eye can still be readily improved. While this improvement is possible, it does require intense adherence to the treatments prescribed.

If glasses are the primary or secondary treatment for the lazy eye, not wearing the glasses will dramatically increase the likelihood that the reduced vision becomes permanent and can even worsen.

It can be helpful to discuss the reasons the child does not like the glasses with the eye doctor to better suit the child and continue the treatment with the glasses.


Our eye doctors at Neal Eye Group in Conshohocken, PA excel in the prescription of contact lenses, glasses and various eye diseases.  Call our optometrists at (610) 828-9701 or schedule an appointment online if you would like to learn more about amblyopia.  Our optometrists provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Conshohocken, Norristown, Plymouth Meeting, Lafayette Hill, and Philadelphia.

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