Is It Possible That LASIK Could Cause Amblyopia?

Amblyopia, or “lazy eye” is an eye condition that usually you are born with and it always occurs before age 8.  Amblyopia is the loss of one eye’s ability to see details. It is one of the most common causes of vision problems in children.  Amblyopia occurs when the nerve pathway from one eye to the brain does not develop properly during childhood. This occurs because the abnormal eye sends a blurred image or a wrong image to the brain.  The brain recognizes the image as being wrong and then starts to ignore the image from the amblyopic eye and the other eye compensates.

Symptoms of Amblyopia are as follows:

  • Eyes that turn in or out
  • Poor vision in one eye
  • Inability to judge depth correctly
  • Eyes that do not appear to work together

LASIK patients are old enough that the risk of causing amblyopia is nearly non-existent.  LASIK is performed on patients who are 21 and older.  This is because the eye has usually fully developed.  Early recognition and treatment of the amblyopia in children can help to prevent permanent visual loss.   Children should have a complete eye examination at least once between ages 3 and 5 to determine normal visual development.  Better treatment and visual success is achieved when treatment starts early.  In all cases, the goal is to achieve the best possible vision in each eye. While not every child can be improved to 20/20, many can obtain a substantial improvement in their vision.

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