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Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, is the eye condition noted by reduced vision not correctable by glasses or contact lenses and is not due to any eye disease. The brain, for some reason, does not fully acknowledge the images seen by the amblyopic eye. This almost always affects only one eye but may manifest with reduction of vision in both eyes. It is estimated that three percent of children under six have some form of amblyopia.

Causes of amblyopia: Both eyes must receive clear images during the critical period. Anything that interferes with clear vision in either eye during the critical period (birth to 6 years of age) will result in amblyopia (a reduction in vision not corrected by glasses or elimination of an eye turn). The most common causes of amblyopia are constant strabismus (constant turn of one eye), anisometropia (different prescriptions in each eye), and/or blockage of an eye due to trauma, lid droop, etc. If one eye sees clearly and the other sees a blur, the good eye will inhibit (block, suppress, ignore) the eye with a blur. Thus, amblyopia is a neurologically active process. This inhibition results in a permanent decrease in the vision in that eye that is not corrected just with glasses.

Treatment of Amblyopia: If not detected and treated early in life, amblyopia can cause a permanent loss of vision with associated loss of stereopsis (two eyed depth perception). Detection and correction before the age of two offers the best chance for restoration of normal vision. However, treatment can improve this condition even in adulthood.

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