Amblyopia is a condition commonly referred to as a “lazy eye”. It occurs when there is a lack of coordination between both eyes. Each eye is receiving its own picture that does not align with the other so in order to compensate, the brain ignores or suppresses the image from one of the eyes. This causes a phenomenon where only one eye can reach 20/20 vision, leaving the other suppressed eye with less clear vision which results in amblyopia.
Amblyopia is quite noticeable when it is caused by one eye wandering in and out, however there are other causes that are more challenging for a parent to detect. If you suspect your child may have a lazy eye, it's crucial to schedule an eye examination with your optometrist. They can determine whether your child is indeed suffering from amblyopia. Through vision therapy, your optometrist can help both eyes to regain their capacity to work in tandem effectively.
There are various causes of amblyopia, such as:
The good news is that vision therapy can help tremendously in cases of amblyopia. There are two main goals when trying to work with a patient with amblyopia:
In the past it was thought that the best way to treat amblyopia is by using patching, which means closing the stronger eye in order to force the brain to learn how to properly use the weaker eye. The hope is that once the patch is removed, the brain will know how to use both eyes together properly. We still use patching but we assist this method by adding some stepping stones which help transition from using vision with one eye, known as monocular vision, to gradually using binocular vision, when the patch is removed and both eyes are working together. It’s been verified that this coupled with patching is much more effective.