You’ve just been told your child has amblyopia, or lazy eye. As a parent, your initial reaction is confusion: What is lazy eye? What impact will it have on my child? And most importantly, can you fix a lazy eye?
If it’s the first time you’ve heard of lazy eye, your confusion is understandable. Amblyopia affects 2-4% of children in this country, even though most people have never heard of it. It’s often confused with strabismus, which is an eye turn. (Children with strabismus are typically called ‘cross-eyed’ or ‘wall-eyed’.)
Once you understand a little about amblyopia, however, it will become clear to you why vision therapy is an effective treatment.
What is lazy eye?
Lazy eye is when one eye sees more clearly than the other eye even with glasses or contact lenses. Referring to an amblyopic eye as “lazy” is a bit of a misnomer. The truth is, the eye is healthy and physically capable of participating in the vision game. It’s the brain that prefers the amblyopic eye not be included.
Here’s how it works. With properly functioning binocular vision, your eyes send two slightly different images to your brain. The brain combines the images into one solid image in three dimensions.
When binocular vision does not work correctly due to strabismus, a refractive condition, or an obstruction in an eye, amblyopia can occur. Poor binocular vision can lead to double vision, which in turn will cause the brain to suppress the signal from one of the eyes.
When suppression of one eye occurs consistently over a long enough period of time, the vision with the eye will become poor, even with the other eye covered up. That eye is now considered the amblyopic or lazy eye.
How can you fix a lazy eye?
There are some physicians who believe that restoring clear vision to the eye will cure the amblyopia, but relying on that treatment alone does not address the core problem: The ineffective binocular vision.
Without rebuilding the eyes’ ability to “team” together, any gains from patching may be short-lived. Vision therapy helps the eyes either gain or regain their binocular vision by training the brain to use them together as a team.
(Photo by Bree Bailey)
To learn more, download our Free Report "Lazy Eye: Understanding and Treating Amblyopia." It provides an overview of the condition, links to research, and details on effective treatments.