Amblyopia, or "lazy eye," is the loss of one eye's ability to see details. It is the most common cause of vision problems in children.
Amblyopia occurs when the nerve pathway from one eye to the brain does not develop during childhood. This occurs because the abnormal eye sends a blurred image or the wrong image to the brain.
This confuses the brain, and the brain may learn to ignore the image from the weaker eye.
Strabismus is the most common cause of amblyopia. There is often a family history of this condition.
The term "lazy eye" refers to amblyopia, which often occurs along with strabismus. However, amblyopia can occur without strabismus and people can have strabismus without amblyopia.
Other causes include:
Olitsky SE, Hug D, Smith LP. Disorders of vision. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 620.
Olitsky SE, Coats DK. Amblyopia and its management. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Ophthalmology. 15th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2009:chap 10.
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