Amblyopia refers to poor visual acuity, most usually in the context of a "lazy eye", in which the poor acuity results from the failure of the eye to establish normal cortical representation of visual input during the critical period of visual maturation (between the ages of six months and three years). This may result from:
Uncorrected refractive error
Amblyopic eyes may demonstrate a relative afferent pupillary defect, and sometimes latent nystagmus.
Amblyopia may not become apparent until adulthood when the patient suddenly becomes aware of unilateral poor vision. The finding of a latent strabismus (heterophoria) may be a clue to the fact that such visual loss is long-standing.
The word amblyopia has also been used in other contexts: bilateral simultaneous development of central or centrocecal scotomas in chronic alcoholics has often been referred to as tobacco-alcohol amblyopia, although nutritional optic neuropathy is perhaps a better term.