Treating a Lazy Eye in Adulthood

Published on
February 14, 2022

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

Can lazy eye be treated for adults?

It is possible to treat lazy eye in adulthood. For a long time, it was believed that there was a critical period where the brain's connection to our eyes developed and that when you passed the teenage years, your brain ceased to develop. However new research has disproved this showing that neuroplasticity is maintained throughout a person's lifetime. As you get older, it takes more time to build a new connection, but it is still possible. Therefore, the answer to the question is yes, it can be treated.

What is a lazy eye?

The lazy eye, also known as amblyopia, is a condition in which both eyes lack coordination. As a result, each eye receives its own image and the brain communicates only with one eye, while blocking communication with the other eye.

A high prescription of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, in either eye or in one eye is one of the most common causes of amblyopia. 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. 

How can lazy eye be treated for adults?

The first step towards treating lazy eye is to ensure that the patient has the best  prescription. With more moderate cases of lazy eye this can reestablish the connection between the brain and the weaker eye. 

However for the vast majority of adults with lazy eye, further treatment is needed. The standard of care in treatment is a combination of occlusion and vision therapy. Occlusion, or intentionally making it harder for the stronger eye, trains the brain to use the weaker eye. Once the brain no longer favors the stronger eye, vision therapy retrains the brain to use both eyes together.

Vision is complex therefore the vision therapy treatment plans provided by your eye doctor are tailored to your individual needs and visual skills. Vision therapy strengthens how the brain works together with the eyes to optimize the entire visual system. Several methods can be used to treat a lazy eye, and the only way to determine if the patient would benefit from one or a combination of them is to evaluate each case individually:

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

To diagnose and treat the condition, it is important to schedule a comprehensive eye examination with an optometrist

Visit a Vision Therapy optometrist at an Amplify EyeCare practice near you:

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