How is a lazy eye (amblyopia) treated?

Dr. Michael X. Repka
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

If the eye turns in, a refraction should be performed and farsighted-refractive error corrected if found. If there is outward turning, the decision to operate depends on many factors including the frequency of the drifting, the visual acuity, the refractive error, and the state of depth perception. Unfortunately, many patients with severe amblyopia do not quite achieve normal vision in the affected eye.

Dr. Aaron P. Weingeist, MD
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)


Eye surgery to correct misaligned eyes (strabismus) is usually performed as day surgery under general anesthesia. You should discuss the specifics of the surgery with your eye doctor.

To correct amblyopia, a child must be made to use the weak eye. This is usually done by covering or blurring the strong eye, often for weeks or months.

Even after vision has been restored in the weak eye, part-time patching may be required over a period of years to maintain the improvement.

Eyeglasses may be prescribed to correct errors in focusing. If glasses alone do not improve vision, then patching is necessary.

Amblyopia may also be treated by blurring the vision in the good eye with special eyedrops or lenses to force the child to use the amblyopic eye.

Amblyopia is usually treated before surgery to correct misaligned eyes, and patching or blurring with eyedrops are often continued after surgery as well.

If your ophthalmologist finds a cataract or other abnormality, surgery may be required to correct the problem. An intraocular lens may be implanted. After surgery, eyeglasses or contact lenses can be used to restore focusing while patching improves vision.

Amblyopia cannot usually be cured by treating the cause alone. The weaker eye must be made stronger in order to see normally. Prescribing eyeglasses or performing surgery can correct the cause of amblyopia, but your ophthalmologist must also treat the amblyopia itself.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.