Amblyopia is loss of visual sharpness in one eye caused by lack of use of that eye in early childhood. It is a disorder of the visual system that is characterized by poor vision in an eye that is otherwise physically normal, or out of proportion to associated structural abnormalities. It has been estimated that amblyopia affects 1–5% of the population in the United States.
Amblyopia is caused by poor transmission of the visual stimulation through the optic nerve to the brain for a sustained period of dysfunction or during early childhood thus resulting in poor or dim vision. Amblyopia normally only affects one eye, but it is possible to be amblyopic in both eyes if both are similarly deprived of a good, clear visual image. Detecting the condition in early childhood increases the chance of successful treatment.
Amblyopia is not an organic problem of the eye. It arises when the part of the visual center, located in the occipital lobe, from the affected eye is not stimulated properly, developing abnormally. This has been confirmed via direct brain examinationThe part of the brain corresponding to the visual system from the affected eye is not stimulated properly, and develops abnormally. This has been confirmed via direct brain examination.
The main treatment involves patching the normal eye to force use of the lazy eye. Sometimes, drops are used to blur the vision of the normal eye instead of putting a patch on it. The underlying condition will also require treatment. If the lazy eye is due to a vision problem (nearsightedness or farsightedness), glasses or contact lenses will be prescribed.