Ambliopia is the condition of an eye which is anatomically normal but has lower vision, even with the best optical correction possible. An amblyopic eye did not lose the eyesight but, instead, it was not able to develop vision.
The most frequent causes of amblyopia are strabismus (the crossed eye does not develop its sight as the eye that fixes at objects) and differences of refractive errors between the eyes (anisometropia, prescription very different between the eyes). Children with congenital cataract can become amblyopic as well, since the eye with the cataract will be deprived of proper stimuli.
Early diagnostic and treatment are the most efficient way to avoid amblyopia. Treatment must be started as soon as possible because the chances of better results are greater when the child is treated during the phase in which the brain is learning to see. The child must undergo an eye exam and must wear the prescribed optical correction (the lenses which will give that eye the best vision acuity it can reach), if it is the case. The eye with the best visual acuity (that is, the good eye) must be covered, to give incentive to the weak eye development.
Usually the child does not take well having the good eye occluded (covered); she will not want to see only the weak eye because it will be difficult. The best vision possible will come to that eye as the parents and caregivers persist and adhere to the treatment. Making it clear, in cases where there is strabismus with amblyopia, the first step of the treatment is to improve the eyesight, then the strabismus is corrected. Most eyes with amblyopia are healed if the treatment is done according to the ophthalmologist guidance. An eye with amblyopia which is not treated will have an irreversible lower vision after a certain age.
A child with amblyopia can have a normal overall development, not showing any signs of problems! That is the reason why all children must be submitted to an eye exam during the first years of life and periodically after that, to follow each child’s development which is very important in prevention.