All About Amblyopia

Image of girl with eye patch.

Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, is a visual disorder caused by abnormal vision development, often occurring during infancy. Patients with amblyopia have reduced vision in one eye, because it is not working properly in conjunction with the brain.

With early detection and proper treatment, loss of vision can be avoided for many children. However, when left untreated, amblyopia can cause significantly decreased visual acuity — including legal blindness.

What Causes Amblyopia?

When one eye sees clearly and the other does not, the brain tries to overcompensate for the one that does not see as well. Essentially, the brain begins to ignore images sent from the eye that does not see as well as its counterpart. The brain begins to favor the stronger eye over the other, and the eye that is not being used properly develops increasingly poor visual acuity, becoming the amblyopic eye.

Amblyopia can be caused by a variety of pre-existing conditions that prevents the amblyopic eye from focusing clearly.

Types of Amblyopia

Common types of amblyopia include the following:

Strabismic amblyopia is the most common type of amblyopia and is caused by poorly aligned eyes. If one eye is misaligned, the brain ignores visual input from that eye. This causes underuse in the eye with poorer visual acuity, leading to amblyopia in that eye, or lazy eye.

Refractive amblyopia can occur despite perfect eye alignment. In this case, amblyopia is caused by unequal refractive errors in the eyes. For example, one eye may have uncorrected nearsightedness or farsightedness while the other eye does not. In these cases, the brain depends on the eye with the less severe uncorrected error to see, and ignores the images transmitted from the other eye. This causes amblyopia in the underused eye.

Deprivation amblyopia is amblyopia caused by something that obstructs light from entering a baby’s eye. A congenital cataract is frequently responsible for this form of amblyopia, and proper treatment is necessary to support continued visual development.

Treatment

Amblyopia is not correctable with glasses or contact lenses alone. However, vision therapy is often an appropriate treatment option.

Vision therapy involves an individualized treatment program that is designed to correct or improve visual deficiencies. Vision therapy includes different techniques and eye exercises (depending on the vision deficiency being treated), such as patching the stronger eye to force the brain to pay attention to signals transmitted from the amblyopic eye, eye alignment exercises and eye teaming activities, which help correct and enhance the brain’s ability to communicate with the eyes. It has been found to be far more successful in treating amblyopia than eye surgery or corrective glasses alone.

The earlier a child with amblyopia enters vision therapy, the better. Research has long since disproven the popular belief that older children or even adults with amblyopia cannot be helped; however, it is best to begin treating amblyopia as soon as possible.

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Culpeper Office

Monday:

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

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Wednesday:

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

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Saturday:

10:00 am-3:00 pm

Sunday:

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King George Office

Monday:

Closed

Tuesday:

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

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Thursday:

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Friday:

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

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Sunday:

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Testimonials

Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Dr. Press CARES about his patients, insurance or not AND he is the most thorough eye doctor I have ever been to. The prescription he gave me, made me see correctly, once again, I am so thankful. Dr Press and his staff are great!"
    Katrin H
  • "I'm so glad I changed eye doctors. I had been going to Dr. H by the hospital for a long time and he had given me a prescription for contacts that I tried and tried to wear with no success. Dr. Press gave the right "size" contacts and was able to walk out wearing the contacts with no problem! He has great manners and even took my blood pressure! Glad to have finally found a knowledgeable Optometrist I can SEE in a regular basis."
    Ines P
  • "I recently needed to change my vision prescription and was finally in need of bifocals. I went to see Dr. Miles Press for both convenience (local eye doctor) and because he accepted my insurance. I needed to have vision in my right eye adjusted several times, and several right lenses replaced. Dr.Miles Press worked tirelessly to make sure my vision was correct and I was never charged for each subsequent visit or lens replacement. I've never had an eye doctor like that before, that really cares and is fast and on the ball with knowledge to get you the correct prescription. He also cared that I went with Progressive lenses over bifocals because they provide three fields of view and eliminate the annoying line. To sum it up, an eye doctor that treats you like he would his own family is a rare experience. I will continue to go to Dr. Miles Press as long as he is in business and accepts my insurance. No question."
    Thomas C
  • "I didn't know my vision could change, and I also didn't know that I could see the world more clearly than how I was already seeing it! Dr. Press was professional and very helpful and educating! Highly recommend!"
    Karla N
  • "Dr. Miles Press was very professional, knowledgeable, and friendly. He explained a lot about my eye care that no Dr. has ever taken the time to do."
    Wendy S