Amblyopia is commonly referred to as lazy eye. A lack of coordination between the two eyes causes this condition. As each eye receives a different picture, the brain ignores or suppresses the image from the other weaker eye in order to compensate. Typically amblyopia is a result of a variety of factors.

Types and causes

  • This is most often caused by refractive error, or having unequal refractive errors in each eye. This is known as anisometropia, where each eye may have different refractive powers. As a result, one eye has a better ability to focus than the other, and the eye that does not focus as well becomes amblyopic.
  • In addition, there is deprivation amblyopia, in which an external factor such as cataracts or ptosis (droopy eyelid) prevents one of the eyes from seeing clearly causing the brain to favor the other eye.
  • During pregnancy, the fetus can become affected and cause toxic amblyopia.
  • Strabismic amblyopia occurs when the eyes are not aiming in the same visual direction. Consequently, the eye that is off axis is not looking at the target in regard, becomes amblyopic.

The most common causes of amblyopia are either refractive or strabismic.


A child with amblyopia may:

  • Frequently bump into something on a particular side.
  • Experience a large difference between your farsighted and nearsighted vision.
  • Give preference to one side of the body.
  • Have droopy eyelids.
  • Squint a lot or close one eye.
  • Tilt their head to one side.


A typical treatment approach for these is an evaluation assessment so that an accurate diagnosis can be made for the cause of the amblyopia. Historically when an eye doctor determines the cause of amblyopia, the most common treatment approach that has been shared with a number of patients has been patching or blurring the stronger eye with eye drops, which has been done historically for years with varying degrees of success.

The success rate of the treatment for amblyopia varies a lot because it depends on how well the child applies the patch and how often the parent or teacher reminds him or her to do so. Furthermore this form of treatment only addresses the root cause of the amblyopia but stops short of integrating the weaker eye into a binocular (two eye) visual system. The newer methodology for treating amblyopia is called monocular fixation in binocular field (MFBF). This is a holistic treatment where the brain is taught to integrate the weaker eye's input in coordination with the stronger eye. This treatment is considered the gold standard for amblyopia and uses a combination of occlusion (patching or drops) and in office vision therapy.

Explore comprehensive care for an eye exam for lazy eye at our trusted optometry clinic in Bellflower, serving patients from the surrounding areas including Long Beach, Lakewood, and Los Angeles. Call (562) 925-6591 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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