Amblyopia, known as “lazy eye”, is a condition where there is reduced vision in an eye that has not received adequate use during early childhood. Amblyopia is not an eye disease and cannot be corrected directly by glasses or contact lenses. Due to the way the brain is developed, it does not fully acknowledge the images seen by the amblyopic eye. This mostly affects only one eye but may also affect both eyes. It is estimated that three per cent of children under six years have some form of Amblyopia. If not detected and treated early enough, Amblyopia can lead to a permanent loss of vision.
The only way to detect Amblyopia early is to have sight tests regularly throughout childhood. Children should be checked at birth, at six months, and then annually until they are seven or eight years old. If there is any suspicion of poor vision or crossed eyes, it is advisable to bring your child to an optician, GP or eye surgeon earlier.
With early diagnosis and treatment, the sight in the "lazy eye" can be restored. The earlier the treatment, the better the opportunity to reverse the vision loss. Amblyopia can usually be successfully treated up to the age of seven, but treatment for older children may sometimes be successful in improving vision and can be attempted.