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Amblyopia happens when one or both eyes do not fully develop during childhood. Amblyopia is often referred to as “lazy eye” and is a common problem in babies and children. It starts to show in early years, making it important to get diagnosis and treatment as quickly as possible to prevent permanent vision problems.

There are different conditions that may cause amblyopia including:

Strabismus: Eyes pointing in different directions. One eye may focus straight while the other focuses in, out, up or down.

Refractive errors: Being nearsighted, farsighted or having astigmatism that is either worse in one eye or high in both eyes which leads to one eye “turning off” (or not developing properly) resulting in reduced/poor vision.

Cataracts: Some children are born with a cataract, and this keeps vision from developing properly which can lead to amblyopia.

A check up with an optometrist or an ophthalmologist will check if vision differs from eye to eye. If amblyopia is found, the eye care provider will determine the best course of treatment for the patient. This may include prescription glasses and/or presenting options to strengthen the weaker eye. This can help improve the vision and allow for normal eye development. In some cases of strabismus, an ophthalmologist may even recommend surgery to help straighten out the eye and give both eyes the best stimulus for normal development.