A visual impairment resulting from abnormal visual stimulation during early childhood, the prevalence of which ranges from 1% to 3.9%.
Can result from strabismus, form deprivation (e.g., due to congenital cataracts or corneal opacities), and various types of refractive errors. These errors include anisometropia (unequal refractive error between the 2 eyes), isoametropia (high but similar refractive error in the 2 eyes), and high astigmatism in 1 or both eyes.
Amblyopia due to strabismus with or without refractive error is commonly treated with initial optical correction, and subsequent patching or atropine penalization of the better-seeing eye. Amblyopia due to refractive error alone frequently responds to optical correction alone.
Amblyopia due to form deprivation is treated initially with early surgery, to remove the visual obstruction. In unilateral or asymmetric cases, patching of the better-seeing eye is necessary after surgery.
Treatment is highly successful when instituted during the infantile and preschool years, although some children as old as 13 to 17 years respond to treatment, particularly if there has been no prior therapy.
Treatment of amblyopia with spectacles and patching
From the collection of Tina Rutar, UCSF