Children's Hospital Colorado
Eye Care

Amblyopia

Kids aren’t just mini adults. In fact, they’re incredibly different. That’s why they need incredibly different care.

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What is Amblyopia (lazy eye)?

Amblyopia, also referred to as “lazy eye,” is a condition in which the brain does not communicate correctly with one or both eyes early in life. This results in poor vision in one or both eyes.

There are three types of amblyopia:

  • Refractive amblyopia is the most common and is caused by refractive errors such as farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. If the affected eye or eyes are not treated with glasses or contact lenses early in childhood, the refractive error can result in poor visual development.
  • Strabismic amblyopia occurs as a result of misalignment of a child's eyes, such as crossed eyes.
  • Deprivation amblyopia develops when there is a structural abnormality such as a droopy eyelid, cataract or corneal opacity that blocks the child’s line of sight preventing the development of clear vision.

What causes amblyopia?

Amblyopia is caused by abnormal visual development in infancy or early childhood. Typically, the brain receives information from the eye, which helps the brain develop in the early year of a person’s life. If the brain is not receiving the information it needs, it cannot develop those vision centers in the brain, which results in amblyopia and poor vision.

Who gets amblyopia?

Any infant or child with significant refractive error, misalignment of the eyes (strabismus), structural abnormality obstructing the visual axis, or any combination of the above, can develop amblyopia.

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Get to know our pediatric experts.

Robert Enzenauer, MD, MPH/MSPH

Robert Enzenauer, MD, MPH/MSPH

Ophthalmology, Pediatrics

Rebecca Braverman, MD

Rebecca Braverman, MD

Ophthalmology

Emily McCourt, MD

Emily McCourt, MD

Ophthalmology

Jasleen Singh, MD

Jasleen Singh, MD

Ophthalmology