How is Lazy Eye Treated?

Lazy eye has been proven to be effectively treated using vision therapy, oftentimes combined with other methods such as providing the proper optical correction and patching the eye.

How is Lazy Eye Treated? in Olympia

American Family Vision Clinic

What is a lazy eye?

Lazy eye is a condition, referred to medically as amblyopia, in which there is a lack of coordination between both eyes. This results in each eye receiving their own image and in order to compensate, the brain only has proper communication with one eye while shutting off the other eye, known as the ‘lazy eye’. The lazy eye cannot achieve clear vision, even with an optical correction.

Treatment

At American Family Vision Clinic every treatment plan is customized for the individual patient’s needs and visual skills, depending on the severity of the case and the cause for amblyopia. Lazy eye is treated with a few different methods, and often there is a combination of any of the following techniques to yield the most effective results:

  • Providing accurate optical correction 
  • Patching 
  • Vision therapy 
  • Virtual Reality 
  • Eye Drops
Treatment

Optical Correction

In order to achieve optimal vision, it is important that each eye has the appropriate optical correction to help achieve clear vision. Amblyopia is most commonly caused by a very high optical prescription in either one eye or both eyes and therefore it’s crucial that the patient receives an accurate prescription for glasses.

 

Patching

Patching used to be the main method for treating amblyopia, however now we are aware of certain disadvantages that come with this technique and therefore it is used in moderation and along with vision therapy. The patching method is when we close the strong eye, forcing the lazy eye to strengthen and stop depending on the good eye. Patching can be achieved using an eye patch or using a prescription eye drop called atropine which blurs the vision of the strong eye. The main challenges that patching presents will be discussed below and they are compliance and preventing the eyes from working together as a team.

  • Compliance: Compliance is an issue that often needs to be dealt with when it comes to patching. It’s important to understand a child’s resistance as we close up their good eye which they solely depend on for clear vision and then we expect them to perform tasks using the weak eye with poor vision. It is no surprise if the child does not want to comply. Due to the difficulty with compliance other methods of occlusion, or blurring the stronger eye, are sometimes used. These include virtual reality based games and activities and prescription eye drops.
  • Teamwork of the Eyes: Additionally, the purpose of treating a lazy eye is to strengthen and promote the teamwork of both eyes together, known as binocular vision. Ironically, it has been noted that patching forces the situation where the patient completely relies on only one eye as we have closed off the strong eye. When the patching treatment has been completed, there are patients who struggle to learn how to use both eyes together.

Understanding the challenges that patching presents, brings us to the advantages that vision therapy has to offer. Patching can be very effective, especially when it’s combined with vision therapy.

Vision Therapy

The purpose of vision therapy is to strengthen the entire visual system, which includes the brain and both eyes, ensuring that they are all functioning together properly as a team. Lazy eye is a condition that manifests when the visual system is not working together as a team, as the brain is suppressing the lazy eye and only working with the stronger eye. Vision therapy uses repeated exercises and activities to train the brain to communicate properly with both eyes. 

At American Family Vision Clinic each patient has an individualized vision therapy treatment plan based on their visual skills and needs. Vision therapy can be very effectively combined along with moderate patching of the strong eye. This encourages the weak eye to step up and function without relying on the stronger eye while still being supported with vision therapy. The repeated activities train the brain to work together with both eyes.

Common Questions

There are three causes of amblyopia: The most common cause is a high prescription of glasses in either both eyes or in just one eye (which causes a big difference between the prescription of both eyes). If an eye is wandering in or out, in any direction, it can cause amblyopia and this tends to be the most noticeable cause. If there is something physical blocking the eye, such as cataract or a droopy eyelid, it can cause amblyopia.
[mbv name="primary-doctor-name"] has lots of experience in performing comprehensive eye exams in order to gain a deep understanding of the patient’s visual system and how the eyes are working together. The eye exam will check how each eye sees on its own, as well as how the eyes see together. Depth perception and other various visual skills will be tested to determine how each eye is functioning and how the brain communicates with each eye. When the eye exam is completed, [mbv name="token-primary-doc-lastname"] will explain the diagnosis and will discuss treatment methods.
How is Lazy Eye Treated?
Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Summary

We welcome you to call our office, (360) 491-2121, at American Family Vision Clinic to schedule a consultation. Dr. Zurcher and staff have lots of experience diagnosing and treating amblyopia.

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Working Hours

Monday-Thursday
8:30AM-5:00PM

Friday
8:30AM-3:00PM

Saturday-Sunday
Closed

Location
400 Yauger Way SW. Bldg 1, Ste A Olympia, WA 98502
Fax
(360) 459-1097
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