Amblyopia | Treatment

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How is amblyopia treated?

The treatment for amblyopia depends on what is causing it. After the cause of the amblyopia is found, the child will need to use the weaker eye most of the time, so it will get stronger. To make the child use the weaker eye, a patch can be put over the stronger eye. Sometimes, eye drops or special glasses are used to blur the vision in the stronger eye. This makes the weaker eye become stronger. Patches may be used all day or part of the day, depending on the child's age and vision.

Glasses or contact lenses fix some problems. Surgery may be needed for cataracts, droopy eyelids or crossed eyes.

Treatment usually lasts until vision is normal, or until vision stops getting better. For most children, this takes several weeks. A few children need to use eye patches until they are 8 years to 10 years of age.

Why is early treatment important?

The first few years of life are the most important for eyesight. After a child is 8 years to 10 years of age, the brain's vision system is complete. It can't develop anymore. If the amblyopia hasn't been treated by this age, the child will have poor vision for life. It won't be possible to fix it with glasses, patching or any other treatment.

There's a small chance that using an eye patch for too long can hurt the strong eye. For this reason, children who are wearing eye patches should see their doctor often during the treatment.

Bibliography

See a list of resources used in the development of this information.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/14
Created: 09/99

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