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.
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.
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.