1. The medical term for lazy eye is Amblyopia.
3. Amblyopia always begins in childhood, usually before age 3.
4. Don’t blame the eyes! The brain decides whether or not an eye becomes amblyopic. Remember, the eye is healthy!
5. When a conflict exists the brain is forced to make a choice between processing visual information from the better of the two eyes.
6. Visual conflicts include crooked eyes (strabismus), blockage of the normal visual pathway (as in a dense infantile cataract), or a marked difference in the refractive power of the two eyes (as an example: one eye nearsighted and the other farsighted).
7. A child can have a densely amblyopic eye and not complain.
8. Visual penalization of the better eye is the recommended treatment for lazy eye. Methods include patching the better eye or administration of atropine ointment to blur the better eye so as to force the lazy eye back to work. A specific treatment schedule is customized for each child’s needs.
9. Parents of amblyopic children need to be very aggressive towards enforcing amblyopia treatment. The eye doctor educates and encourages. It is a daily parental responsibility that cannot be neglected. The earlier treatment is started the better the chances for good visual recovery.
10. Beyond age 7 (and certainly after age 11) the chances of significant reversal of lazy eye are very poor. By then the brain’s circuitry has reached maturation. No matter how many times treatment fails, start again and commit to do the best job possible. A lifetime of good eyesight hangs in the balance!