Amblyopia, also known as “amblyopia ex anopsia,” is dimness of vision from disuse. In the absence of organic eye disease, reduced visual acuity in one eye (uncorrectable with lenses) due to cortical suppression; commonly caused by strabismus or by unequal refractive errors, but may also be caused by opacities of the lens or cornea.

In strabismus, the image from the deviating eye is suppressed; fusion is lost, as is depth perception. If treatment is not instituted early, vision fails to develop in the deviating eye, and cannot be regained. In older children (over about 8 years of age), amblyopia may be untreatable.

Treatment options include optical correction of refractive errors; occlusion (“patching”) and/or orthoptics (eye exercises); and surgery to straighten eyes. Peak age for strabismus surgery success is age 2. Chances for improvement of acuity decrease until approximately age 8, after which acuity improvement is unlikely.

Early detection and treatment is essential if acuity is to be developed and maintained. Lighting according to individual needs. If amplyopia is untreatable (as in an older child), classroom seating should favor the functional eye.

Additional information is available in the Blind Children’s Center Pediatric Visual Diagnosis Fact Sheets.