Advocate Lutheran General Hospital


Amblyopia is a disorder of the development of sight. It is due to the failure of cortical visual development in one or both eyes from ocular pathology early in life. Often, amblyopia is referred to as a "lazy eye" by the general public. Amblyopia results in permanent decreased vision in the pathological eye if not treated early enough, even if the ocular pathology is removed later on in life. It is the most common cause of decreased vision in a single eye among children and younger adults. Amblyopia occurs early in life when the developing visual system fails to transmit a sharp image to the visual cortex. Amblyopia can be the result of media opacities, cataracts, strabismus, or anisometropic refractive errors that place one eye at a developmental disadvantage to the other. Amblyopia usually occurs unilaterally but can occur bilaterally with cataracts of both eyes or high refractive errors. Our visual experience as infants and children determines how we see as adults. Amblyopia is diagnosed by identifying diminished visual acuity in one or both eyes that are out of proportion to the structural abnormality of the eye, excluding any other visual disorders as the underlying cause. It can be defined as an interocular difference of two lines or more in acuity when the refractive error is corrected. In young children, visual acuity can be difficult to measure but can be estimated by observing the reactions of the child when one eye is covered, including watching the child's ability to follow objects with one eye.

Document Type

Book Chapter

PubMed ID


Book Chapter/Book Details

StatPearls Publishing, Treasure Island (FL)

Link to Full Text