All About Lazy Eyes Part 2 | Long Island Eye Doctor
Today’s blog is the second of the series, you can read the first here
Once you have been diagnosed with Lazy Eye or Amblyopia, you may wonder, what can be done about it?
Children under the age of 8 have the best opportunity to improve the vision in their lazy eye to 20/20. If a glasses prescription is needed, the first step is to wear glasses full time. This will give the eyes better vision and this will stimulate the brain to use that eye more, and the vision will improve. If that does not improve the vision enough, then the next step is patching.
Some examples of patching activities are : coloring books, mazes, threading beads on a string, putting coins in a slot. All of these exercises will strength the lazy eye.
There are also software programs that can treat amblyopia, you can read about it here. Your doctor will prescribe it to you, or your child if simpler exercises like the ones I describe above, do not work.
If your lazy eye is related to an eye coordination problem, such as an eye turn (strabismus), then you most likely will have to vision therapy. Even if patching is successful, if the eyes are not working together, and one eye is turning “off” to avoid double vision, the brain will again learn to ignore that eye, when you stop patching. This is why vision therapy is important. Also, you may be experiencing symptoms of double vision or difficulty focusing and vision therapy will be able to correct this.
Children 8-12 : The old way of thinking was that once the child had reached 8 years of age, nothing could be done with their lazy eye. Whatever vision that eye had was what the child would be left with for the rest of their lives. We now understand that this could not be further from the truth. The truth is that improvement can be made up till much later in life than we originally believed. The PEDIG (Pediatric Eye Disease Investigation Group) have published many studies, and one of their studies which you can read here involved older children from ages 8-12 and they found that the majority of them had significant improvement in their vision after patching.
Children older than 12 and Adults : There are not many studies done on this population, the improvements seen in this age population are significantly less, but they are possible. A very good book to read is Fixing my gaze by “Stereo Sue”. This book is about her journey to obtaining depth perception in her late adulthood. What is even more special about her story is that she is a Neuroscientist and therefore able to talk about her experience to recovery from a scientific mindset.
Again, if you or someone you know has a Lazy Eye, please schedule an appointment with your developmental optometrist for an evaluation. You will be glad you did!