Amblyopia and Lazy Eye are Preventable

by May 18, 2018

Childhood is an important time for growth and physical development.  The eyes and the visual system are no exception during this critical developmental period.  Children need to get their eyes checked on a regular basis to ensure that amblyopia (also known as “lazy eye”) doesn’t develop. 





During childhood, particularly before the age of 10, the eye is constantly working with the brain to organize important neuron connections, establish critical functions of the eye, and fine-tune visual processes.  This time of visual development in children is known by eye care professionals as the critical developmental period. During the critical developmental period, it is of the utmost importance that children are regularly examined by an eye doctor to ensure that their visual system is healthy and fully functioning.  Problems with the visual system during the developmental period can lead to a condition known as amblyopia.


The visual system is unable to fully develop, and normal visual function is never achieved in those with amblyopia.  In layman’s terms, this means the eye will not be able to see as well as a “normal eye” with glasses or contact lenses.  Amblyopia typically occurs in one eye, but can occasionally happen in both eyes.



A common cause of amblyopia is strabismus, or an eye that is not properly aligned.  An eye with strabismus can turn inwards or outwards; the turn can be present constantly, or only part of the time.  When the eyes are not aligned properly, the visual system oftentimes send confused signals to the brain, making proper visual development difficult and resulting in amblyopia. This is what many associate with the term “lazy eye.”

Another cause of amblyopia is a condition known as anisometropia, which is a term referring to unequal prescriptions between the two eyes.  If one eye has a much stronger prescription than the other, particularly if it is farsighted, the brain will stop working to communicate with the worse-seeing eye and amblyopia can develop.  



In order to prevent the development of amblyopia, children should regularly see an eye doctor.  Eye care professionals are able to detect any potential causes of the condition, and can work with the parents and the child to address any problems they develops or worsens.


If you have any further questions about amblyopia or lazy eye  call us at (610) 828-9701. We serve Conshohocken, Plymouth Meeting, Lafayette Hill, and Whitemarsh. 

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