• Amblyopia: Lazy Eye Diagnosis

    Written by: Kierstan Boyd
    Reviewed by: Denise Satterfield MD
    Sep. 01, 2013

    It is not easy to recognize amblyopia. A child may not be aware of having one strong eye and one weak eye. Unless the child has a misaligned eye or other obvious abnormality, there is often no way for parents to tell that something is wrong.

    Amblyopia is detected by finding a difference in vision between the two eyes or poor vision in both eyes. Since it is difficult to measure vision in young children, your ophthalmologist often estimates visual acuity by watching how well a baby follows objects with one eye when the other eye is covered.

    With amblyopia (lazy eye) treatment, a child’s stronger eye is covered with a patch so that the weak eye is used instead. Through continued use, the weaker eye becomes stronger, allowing vision to develop normally.

    Using a number of tests, an ophthalmologist can diagnose amblyopia by watching how a baby reacts when one eye is covered. If one eye is amblyopic and the strong eye is covered, the baby may attempt to look around the patch, try to pull it off, or cry.

    Poor vision in one eye does not always mean that a child has amblyopia. Vision can often be improved by prescribing eyeglasses for a child.

    Your ophthalmologist will also carefully examine the inside of the eye to see if other eye diseases may be affecting vision. These diseases include:

    • Cataracts
    • Inflammations (swelling)
    • Tumors
    • Other inner eye problems