Amblyopia – also known as “lazy eye” – is a visual developmental disorder that impacts visual acuity (how well you see). It generally develops during early childhood and is typically managed via corrective lenses.
It generally develops in one eye, though it can also develop in both. Approximately 3% of the Canadian population has some level of amblyopia.
A lazy eye generally begins its development during early childhood (including infancy). Because of this, the child is often not able to articulate the visual problem they are experiencing (highlighting the importance of regular eye exams for kids).
Amblyopia is often a result of strabismus, a relatively common eye alignment problem.
There are a few ways that you can test your child at home for amblyopia. These tests are not 100% accurate, but they can do a good job highlighting where visual challenges may lie. If anything, they can be used to quickly determine if there is something developing that requires further investigation.
There are three main types of amblyopia:
There is a common and popular myth that having long hair or bangs that covers an eye will cause that eye to develop amblyopia. In reality, the eye needs to be covered constantly – day and night – for amblyopia to develop.
Don’t worry if your child wants to rock a Bieber-style cut. While it may not look good (opinions differ on the Bieber-do), your child will still be able to look good.
Amblyopia is generally treated by correcting the refractive errors or other visual issue preventing proper use of the eye. Vision therapy is also commonly used to treat amblyopia due to its effectiveness without requiring surgery.