ABC Medical Center > Amblyopia (lazy eye)

What is Amblyopia (lazy eye)?

21:53 - 4 May , 2021


It is a common condition in babies and infants, where vision in one eye does not develop correctly, affecting visual capacity.

If not detected and treated early, it can lead to lifelong eye conditions, including loss of sight.

It rarely affects both eyes. Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, is presented by an abnormal visual experience in which the eye and the brain suffer from a lack of coordination, favoring one eye over the other.

This condition can be caused by the presence of various eye problems, such as:

  • Cross-eye, where the eyes point in different directions and the brain, to avoid double vision, avoids the image of the weak eye, which can lead to that eye not developing correctly. Cross-eye is the most frequent cause of amblyopia.
  • Refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, especially if it is greater in one of the eyes, causing the ocular vision not to evolve satisfactorily.
  • Opacities in some parts of the eye.
  • Childhood cataracts, usually from birth.

Risk factors that can trigger amblyopia include:

  • Family members with amblyopia.
  • Premature babies.
  • Small size at birth.
  • Development problems.

Signs and symptoms Amblyopia (lazy eye)

  • The characteristic symptoms consist of:
  • Narrowed eyes
  • Lack of ability to appreciate visual depth.
  • Tilted head.
  • Inward or outward eye movement.
  • Eye incoordination.
  • Poor vision in one eye.

If not treated promptly, amblyopia can cause:

  • Complications of the eye muscles that may require various corrective surgeries.
  • Permanent loss of vision in the affected eye.

Diagnosis and treatment Amblyopia (lazy eye)

Once the ophthalmologist analyzes your child’s symptoms and medical history, they will perform a complete eye exam to find out if there are differences between one eye and the other, and if there are no other problems that could be affecting vision.

In infants or young children, the doctor will cover one eye to observe how the other eye follows a moving object, as well as the child’s reaction to having one eye covered.

The treatment to follow consists of correcting the eye problem that is affecting the lazy or weak eye, either with surgery or the use of glasses.

From this, it will place a patch on the normal eye to force the brain to recognize the image with the weak eye. When a child has amblyopia, it is essential to strengthen the vision in the lazy eye even if the cause is corrected to avoid long-term vision problems.

Sometimes your doctor may recommend the use of eye drops to blur the vision in the normal eye instead of wearing a patch or wearing glasses with a lens that blurs vision in that eye. The latest scientific advances use computers to show a slightly different image to each eye.

The weak eye’s vision will be strengthened in a few weeks or months, but the child will likely continue to need a temporary patch for a few years to prevent the healthy eye from deteriorating, so it is essential to continue with the medical recommendations and timely attend assessment and follow-up appointments.

Children who receive treatment before the age of five usually recover almost all of their vision, but if it is not started early, only partial recovery will likely occur.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


  • kidshealth.org
  • estrabologia.org
  • medlineplus.gov
  • mayoclinic.org
  • msdmanuals.com
  • medigraphic.com
  • Estrada MM, Méndez OLI, Cid VB, et al. Ambliopía ametrópica. Informe de caso. Rev Cub de Tec de la Sal. 2020;11(3):125-131.
  • Barrera TOL, Jerez AEN. Ambliopía. Caracterización clínico-epidemiológica. Hospital Infantil. Mul Med. 2019;23(6):1189-1201.
  • Moguel-Ancheita S. Campaña de detección de ambliopía y estrabismo. México 2016. Rev Mex Oftalmol. 2018;92(1):18-25.
  • Díaz NYC, Díaz NYJ. Tratamiento binocular de la ambliopía basado en la realidad virtual. Rev Cub Oftal. 2016;29(4):674-687.

How can we help you?

    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.