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Eye Facts

The Common Causes of Amblyopia

by Madeleine Scavone 11 Jul 2021
What conditions cause Amblyopia in Children?

Amblyopia develops from other eye and vision problems. If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to know what those conditions are so you can understand your child’s vision needs better. So here’s a quick run down of the 4 most common causes of Amblyopia.


Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes don’t point in the same direction at the same time. One or both eyes may turn inward (esotropia), outward (exotropia), upward (hypertropia), or downward (hypotropia) either sometimes (intermittent) or all of the time. To avoid seeing double, the brain may ignore the image from the eye that is not focussed on the object and this prevents that eye from developing properly...leading to Amblyopia.


Short-sightedness (near), long-sightedness (far) and astigmatism (eye shaped like a football)  are all refractive errors that cause blurry or distorted vision. Your child may have a refractive error that is worse in one eye causing different levels of vision between the eyes, this is called anisometropia. The brain will ignore the blurry image received by that eye and therefore the vision will not develop properly, leading to Amblyopia. (Note: this is the most common cause).

Congenital Cataracts

Some babies are born with cataracts, where the eye’s normally clear lens is cloudy. Since the eye cannot see clearly, the brain will rely on the other eye and amblyopia can develop in the eye with the cataract.

Droopy Eyelid

The clinical name Ptosis, also known as droopy eyelid, is a condition in which the upper eyelid of one or both eyes droops over the eye. It may only droop a little or the upper eyelid may sag so much that it completely covers the eye, preventing the pupil from letting in light.

Ptosis can lead to amblyopia (curious eye), where the brain relies on the stronger eye to see, preventing the affected eye from developing properly. This can have a long-term impact on your child's vision. 

Find out more about Amblyopia and how to treat it here .

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