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Amblyopia in Children


Amblyopia a condition that causes your child to have poor vision. It occurs if your child's brain favors one eye instead of both eyes equally. This may cause him to have trouble seeing and understanding what he sees. He may not be able to see details very well. Amblyopia is sometimes called lazy eye because one eye is weaker than the other.

Eye Anatomy


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.


  • Cycloplegic medicine: These medicines blur vision in your child's normal eye. This forces the weak eye to see by itself so it will develop and catch up to the normal eye.


Your child may need any of the following:

  • Corneal light reflex test: This test uses a light to see if your child's eyes are aligned, or looking at the same thing at the same time. A light is shined near your child's eyes. Your child's healthcare provider then sees the reflection on your child's eyes. Normally, the reflections should be at the same point from his nose.
  • Cover-uncover test: This test checks if your child's eyes are looking at the same object at the same time. An object is placed farther down the room and your child's healthcare provider covers one eye. He carefully looks at the uncovered eye for any movement. If the uncovered eye moves a bit to look at the object, it may have problems.
  • Test for fixation: This test is used for children who cannot speak yet. In this test, your child's healthcare provider covers your child's eye. He moves a small flashlight in front of your child and sees how well he follows the light. He repeats the test on the other eye and compares the results.
  • Test for visual acuity: This test uses charts with letters, pictures and shapes to check how well your child sees. These special charts can be used for young children who cannot read, or speak yet. Your child is seated, and he is asked what he sees on the chart placed farther down the room. If he still cannot speak, your child's healthcare provider looks at your child's reactions when he holds up objects or charts.

Treatment options:

Your child may have any of the following:

  • Eye surgery: This is used to remove cataracts from your child's eye, or to correct muscle imbalance in the eye. This may improve your child's vision.
  • Eyeglasses and contact lenses: This is used to correct your child's vision in the affected eye. Contact lenses are small, soft, round pieces of plastic put over your child's eye. Your child's healthcare provider may also use a special lens to blur vision in your child's good eye.
  • Eyepatch: This is used to block vision in your child's good eye. This lets the affected eye see by itself and develop its visual system.
    Eye Patch

Vital signs:

Healthcare providers will check your child's blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask you or your child about his pain. These vital signs give information about your child's current health.


If eye medicine is used, it can cause irritation, redness of the skin, and headaches. The treatment to block vision in the normal eye may cause amblyopia in the normal eye. Even after treatment, your child's visual in the weak eye may return to the way it was before treatment. If left untreated, your child's vision may stay the same or it may worsen. Your child may lose vision in the weak eye.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Amblyopia in Children (Inpatient Care)

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