Amblyopia, also called lazy eye, is a disorder of sight due to the eye and brain not working well together. It results in decreased vision in an eye that otherwise typically appears normal. It is the most common cause of decreased vision in a single eye among children and younger adults.
The cause of amblyopia can be any condition that interferes with focusing during early childhood. This can occur from poor alignment of the eyes, an eye being irregularly shaped such that focusing is difficult, one eye being more nearsighted or farsighted than the other, or clouding of the lens of an eye. After the underlying cause is fixed, vision is not restored right away as the mechanism also involves the brain. Amblyopia can be difficult to detect and therefore vision testing is recommended for all children around the ages of four to five.
Early detection improves treatment success. Eye glasses may be all the treatment needed for some children. If this is not sufficient, treatments which force the child to use the weaker eye are used. This is done by either using a patch or putting atropine in the stronger eye. Without treatment amblyopia typically persists into adulthood. Evidence regarding treatments for adults is poor.