Amblyopia or “lazy eye” is the decreased ability to see detail. During early childhood years the nerve pathway from the eye to the brain does not develop as it should which causes this condition. Amblyopia is by far the leading cause of decreased vision in children.
Amblyopia, or more commonly lazy eye, is poor vision in one or both eyes due to a lack of stimulation to the retina (the back inside surface of the eye that relays information to the brain) during the critical development period in childhood (from birth to around 7 – 8 years of age).
Common underlying causes of a lack of stimulation include squint (misalignment of the eye), uncorrected refractive error (e.g. long-sightedness or astigmatism), ptosis (droopy upper eyelid obscuring the pupil) and cataract.
It is very important that amblyopia is detected early (approximately before the age of 7 – 8years) in order to try to improve the weak vision. If amblyopia is not detected before this critical age, treatment is less likely to be effective.