Amblyopic children can be treated with vision therapy (which often includes patching one eye), atropine eye drops, the correct prescription for nearsightedness or farsightedness, or surgery.
Vision therapy exercises the eyes and helps both eyes work as a team. Vision therapy for someone with amblyopia forces the brain to see through the amblyopic eye, thus restoring vision.
Sometimes the eye doctor or vision therapist will place a patch over the stronger eye to force the weaker eye to learn to see. Patching may be required for several hours each day or even all day long, and may continue for weeks or months.
In some children, atropine eye drops have been used to treat amblyopia instead of patching. One drop is placed in the child’s good eye each day (the parent can do this). Atropine blurs vision in the good eye, which forces the child to use the eye with amblyopia more, to strengthen it. One advantage is that it doesn’t require constant vigilance on the part of the parent to make sure the child wears the patch.
Amblyopia will not go away on its own, and untreated amblyopia can lead to permanent visual problems and poor depth perception. If later in life the child’s stronger eye develops disease or is injured, he or she will be dependent on the poor vision of the amblyopic eye, so it is best to treat amblyopia early on.