Amblyopia, or “lazy eye” is a disorder of the brain’s ability to use both eyes together as a team. Lazy eye is not lazy at all, it is an active process due to suppression, or the brain actively ignoring the information coming from one eye. People with amblyopia are more likely to have difficulties with depth perception, eye movements related to reading and visual decision making while driving.
Amblyopia is treatable at any age, although the earlier the problem is found and treated, the more successful the outcomes tend to be. It is important to realize that a child with amblyopia rarely has any symptoms. Comprehensive eye exams are the best way to identify children who are at risk for the problem.
Up until recently, patching the better eye was the only proven method of treating amblyopia, but recent research has shown that a binocular approach to treating amblyopia might be an effective alternative to patching. A treatment that relies less on patching may avoid unnecessary emotional stress on a child or their family.
Some of the treatments may include eyeglasses or contact lenses, binocular vision activities; a program of vision therapy to help improve the visual abilities of the eye with amblyopia including accommodation (focusing), fixation, saccades, pursuits (eye tracking) and spatial skills (eye-hand coordination). Vision therapy may reduce the frequency of patching since the goal of amblyopia therapy is to improve eye coordination, improve stereopsis (depth perception) and reduce suppression.
William C. Womble, O.D.
1822 Huntsville Hwy., Suite D