Researchers at New York University's Center for Neural Science say their experiments in monkeys suggest the eye condition affecting the perception of movement, depth and fine detail is a result of disrupted links between the brain and visual processing that extends beyond the primary visual cortex.
The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, links amblyopia to the part of the brain called MT that processes information about moving objects. The researchers found in monkeys with normal vision, the MT neurons responded through both eyes.
However, in those with amblyopia, the MT neurons showed a stronger response in one eye -- usually the eye not affected by the disorder.
The researchers point out normal visual motion perception relies on neurons integrating information about the position of moving objects.
"This study shows that amblyopia results from changes in the brain that extend beyond the primary visual cortex," senior author J. Anthony Movshon says in a statement.
He suggests other affected neurological regions may remain undiscovered.
Amblyopia affects between 1 percent to 3 percent of the population.