What Is Lazy Eye?
Lazy Eye (also called amblyopia) is a condition in which one or both eyes is unable to see 20/20 and cannot be corrected by glasses. When someone has lazy eye, their eyes do not appear abnormal and parents are often completely unaware that their child has a problem. However, a child with a lazy eye is typically only using one eye and has abnormal depth perception. They may have trouble noticing peripheral vision on the side of the lazy eye, have trouble catching a ball, and so forth.
How Is Lazy Eye Usually Treated?
Most eye doctors recommend that the patient wears a patch over the “good eye” for a few hours each day to force the brain to use the “lazy eye” for treatment. The assumption is that this forces the “lazy eye” to work so that it will eventually see 20/20. This will usually get some degree of improvement.
What Causes It?
- Brain ignores input to one eye in order to avoid double vision because the eyes are misaligned
- Long term blur in one or both eyes due to a high uncorrected prescription
- Lack of optical input to one eye due to opacity (such as a cataract)
It's very important to make sure that eye health is normal before making a diagnosis of amblyopia. Amblyopia is always caused by abnormal usage of the eyes such as a large uncorrected prescription or misalignment of the eyes. In the absence of such problems, the doctor must look for disease states that cause the eye to not see clearly.
Why Do Vision Therapy Instead of Patching?
Patching is strictly a ONE eye treatment and doesn’t train the brain to use the two eyes together as a team. Vision therapy will train the two eyes to work together, remain properly aligned, and get over any plateaus in improvement of vision that patching alone cannot overcome.
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