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Can Lazy Eye be Treated for Adults?

Lazy eye, known medically as amblyopia, can be treated for patients of all ages, including adults.

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Treating a Lazy Eye in Adulthood

There is a common misconception that a lazy eye can only be treated during the critical time period of a child’s development, but this has been researched and proven to be incorrect. There is very effective treatment for people of all ages, including adults. Generally speaking, it is recommended to pursue treatment as early as possible because often the younger the patient is, the more effective the treatment can be for a lazy eye. However, amblyopia can often go undetected through adulthood because it can be hard for a person to notice that they are functioning with clear vision only being obtained through one eye while the other is being suppressed. Additionally, many cases of a lazy eye have no connection to being cross-eyed, making it difficult to notice any signs of amblyopia. 

The good news is that treatment is very effective in adulthood. It’s important to be patient as it can take longer to see the results than it would in a younger person. A crucial element of many treatment methods, including vision therapy, is compliance and usually an adult patient is more compliant than a child. The older patients are determined to see results and typically have not been persuaded by a parent or teacher to pursue treatment, but have come on their own volition as they understand why treatment is important. Adults do have some advantages over a child when pursuing treatment for amblyopia.

What is a Lazy Eye?

What is a Lazy Eye?

Lazy eye is a condition, referred to medically as amblyopia, which occurs when there is a lack of coordination between both eyes causing one eye not to see well, even with an optical correction. In such a case, each eye is receiving its own image that does not align with the other and in order to cope with this, the brain shuts off and suppresses the image of the eye referred to as a lazy eye. The brain solely relies on the second eye, which is the only eye that is able to achieve 20/20 vision. 

There are various causes of amblyopia including a high prescription of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism either in both eyes or when one eye has a higher prescription than the other. The most noticeable cause of a lazy eye is when one eye wanders outwards or inwards, but not all types of amblyopia are easy to detect without an eye exam. It is important to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist who will be able to diagnose and treat the condition.

Symptoms

Symptoms

Having a lazy eye can make various visual functions difficult and can cause a variety of symptoms. These challenges can go unnoticed as amblyopia is often very hard to identify without an eye exam because the brain has learned to adapt to working with just one eye. If there are symptoms and signs, they may include:

  • Blurry vision, even with an optical correction
  • Difficulty reading
  • Poor depth perception
  • Headaches and/ or eye strain
  • Prone to accidents
  • Poor eye-hand coordination
  • Difficulty following an object only with your eyes and not moving your head

Whether or not you experience these symptoms, if you have suspicions of having a lazy eye, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam.

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Treatment Methods for Adults with Amblyopia

Treatment Methods for Adults with Amblyopia

At Amplify EyeCare, each vision therapy treatment plan is customized for the patient’s individual needs and visual skills. Vision therapy strengthens how the brain works together with the eyes to optimize the entire visual system. There are different methods for treating a lazy eye and based on each case it will be determined if the patient would benefit from one or a combination of the following:

  • Vision therapy
  • Prescription glasses
  • Eye patching
  • Virtual Reality 
  • Eye Drops
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Common Questions

The brain has an incredible feature known as plasticity which means it can always adapt and be trained to strengthen/ perform new functions. This applies greatly to the treatment of amblyopia in which the brain and the visual pathways can be trained to work together properly as a team without suppressing the lazy eye. Plasticity is not limited to childhood and it applies in adulthood as well, yielding effective results for patients who are both younger and older.
Unfortunately there is a common misconception, even amongst the scientific and medical community, that a lazy eye can only be treated up until around age eight. It is tragic for people who are older than eight years old to be withheld from having access to effective treatment due to this misconception that has been researched and proven to be incorrect. Treatment may take longer in an adult compared to a child, but adults can still benefit greatly from successful results. Adults have the advantage of generally being more compliant and determined to participate in the treatment plan as an older patient usually has a greater understanding of what is trying to be accomplished. Please allow yourself the opportunity to achieve optimal vision, no matter how old you are. We welcome you to schedule a consultation at our office.
Can Lazy Eye be Treated for Adults?
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Summary

Contrary to the widespread belief that lazy eye, or amblyopia, can only be treated during childhood, research has proven that effective treatment is possible for adults as well. Despite treatment often being more effective in younger patients, adult patients also show significant improvement, with treatment outcomes often benefiting from their higher compliance levels and understanding of the process. Amblyopia occurs when the brain suppresses the image from one eye due to lack of coordination, causing that eye not to see well even with optical correction. The condition could be due to various factors like high prescription of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, or when one eye wanders. Symptoms can include blurry vision, reading difficulties, poor depth perception, and headaches, among others. Amblyopia treatment methods for adults at Amplify EyeCare  include customized vision therapy plans, prescription glasses, eye patching, virtual reality, and eye drops.

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