The latency of the first (P1) and second (P2) major positive waves of the pattern reversal visual evoked potential (VEP) for small checks (15 minutes of arc) was measured in 68 visually normal children and 32 amblyopic children with mild to moderate visual acuity losses. In the normal children there were no P1 and P2 interocular latency differences. The amblyopic children showed longer P1 latencies and shorter P2 latencies in their amblyopic eye than their normal fellow eye. These findings can be accounted for by a selective loss of the contrast-specific evoked potential mechanisms in amblyopia. The 'shorter' P2 latency obtained from amblyopic eyes for small checks is a reflection of the luminance responses that are normally elicited by larger (60 minute) checks.