Developmental timelines of Amblyopia

This table is taken and completed with information from the book “Applied Concepts in Vision Therapy” by Leonard Press.



“Critical period: birth to 6 months

  • aggressive treatment required: critical to provide child with clear visual input
  • lack of treatment results in legal blindness and nystagmus
  • untreated infantile cataract is an extreme model of consequences of deprivation during early visual development. They exhibit dense, irreversible amblyopia with nystagmus
  • infantile cataract is most treatable amblyogenic factor at this age
  • other amblyogenic factors are maximally influential at this age

Sensitive period: 6 months to age 8

  • upper age limit for onset of amblyopia
  • aggressive treatment required
  • lack of treatment results in visual impairment
  • child remains vulnerable to the onset of amblyopia, however long term effects are less severe
  • amblyopia can be reversed, assuming optimal patient compliance with therapy
  • can recur if original amblyogenic factor has not been eliminated -> address binocular and refractive anomalies

Susceptible period: age 8 to age 18

  • aggressive treatment indicated if patient is compliant
  • if amblyogenic factor is still present, amblyopia can recur
  • recurrences of amblyopia are possible as late as the teens
  • the most common conditions that cause recurrence of amblyopia are unilateral strabismus and non-compliance with spectacle or contact lens wear in refractive amblyopia

Residual plasticity period: age 18 trhough adulthood

  • treatment can be successful if patient compliant and prognosis optimal
  • amblyopia not likely to recur even if amblyogenic factors still present”


Also read:
What other visual anomalies do amblyopes have aside from reduced acuity and stereo vision?
Redefining amblyopia as a disorder of vision development

This article has 2 comments

  1. Nemeth gabriella Reply

    My son age 7 has ambliopia due to a congenital cataract. He had an IOL surgery a year ago. He has glasses and patching but only moderate improvement. I would like to start with vision therapy, but don’t know any reliable practitioner in Belgium. We live in Bruxelles, but would travel if neccessary to find a good practitioner. Could you pls recommend someone? Thank you so much.

    • Michael Lievens Reply

      Benoit Lombaerts or Myrthe Goriens are good places to go in Brussels. Amblyopia is very treatable with VT. Don’t give up on it and good luck

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