In the 47 months from September, 1981, 1531 new cases of amblyopia were identified in the ophthalmic clinics of Leicestershire. Amblyopia was due to strabismus in 689 (45%), combined strabismus and anisometropia in 540 (35%), anisometropia alone in 252 (17%), and form deprivation in 50 (3%). The median age at presentation for strabismic amblyopia (3.64 years) was significantly lower than for combined strabismus and anisometropia (4.68 years) and anisometropia (6.27 years). Boys presented later than girls, as did Asians compared with Caucasians. Only 38 (15%) of children with a visual defect without strabismus (anisometropia) were identified before the age of 5 years. The major reason for this late identification is the lack of a reliable single test for preschool vision assessment.