Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, affects up to 3% of children in America. When one eye is strong, but the other is weak, poor vision can result when the weak eye is left untreated. Now that your child has been diagnosed with amblyopia, you are faced with four different treatment options. Here are the facts about what to expect from each one.

Eye Patch

If you have ever seen a child wearing an eye patch and it is not Halloween, chances are their eye specialist has chosen this path to tackle a lazy eye problem. Occlusion, which is the medical term for wearing the patch, aims to strengthen the weaker eye by blocking sight in the stronger eye. By forcing the weak eye to do all the work, it strengthens during the treatment time. The most important points about this treatment are:

  • It is only effective in children aged under 8. Once a child turns 8, the part of the brain that controls vision reaches its full maturity, and cannot be altered after this point.
  • The patch needs to be worn consistently, and the recommended time could be up to 12 hours per day. This time length will depend on how weak the lazy eye is compared to the other.
  • Activities that promote close up vision should be done while the patch is worn. These include reading, crafts, and homework.

Eye Drops

The use of eye drops for pediatric lazy eye helps to promote the use of the weak eye without the visual negativity of the eye patch (not all children want to be pirates.) The eye drops are the same type that an eye doctor uses to dilate a pupil. When the strong eye pupil is dilated, its vision is blurred and compromised. This means that the weak eye has to do the work of both eyes.

There are several side effects that can occur from the continual use of these eye drops. They include headaches, and eye irritation. If your child experiences either of these while using the drops, then other options need to be considered.


As previously mentioned, the part of the brain that controls your child's vision continues to develop until the age of eight. Before this age, therapy is an option for lazy eye treatment.

Vision therapy is used to train the brain so that it can properly align the two eyes together. The brain is also taught how to read the image from each eye together as one image. Vision therapy may be recommended in conjunction to wearing an eye patch. However, the amount of time each day that the patch needs to be worn is normally a lot shorter, and can be as little as two hours.


Surgery to strengthen the muscle of the lazy eye is an option, but is normally only considered if non-surgical options are not beneficial. Surgery is not guaranteed to fix the lazy eye problem so the eye patch or eye drops may still be needed.

Additionally, it may take more than one surgical procedure to fully fix the lazy eye problem. If surgery is being recommended, ask the specialist how many procedures could be involved, and what success rate they have before you make the decision to involve anesthetic.

Lazy eye treatment will take perseverance, and is not a medical problem that can be fixed overnight. While your child may not like the idea of wearing a patch, or using the eye drops each day, they are the most effective options available. In the future, eye surgery that fixes the problem with one procedure may an option, but until that time teaching your child that pirates are cool is the first step in them having clear vision once more. Check out sites like for more information.