There are cases in which a patient may be suggested to have a lazy eye just based on their inability to read 20/20 on the eye chart during their exam. However, they do not exhibit any amblyogenic risk factors such as strabismus, wandering eyes, or unequal refractive errors between the two eyes. In some cases, a patient may exhibit milder symptoms of a binocular vision disorder such as convergence insufficiency. But in fact, the patient has strabismus and poor depth perception subsequent to that.

What are the different types of binocular vision disorders?

There are many binocular disorders which occur when both eyes are not working properly together. Some of the main ones include:

What is a lazy eye?

Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is a condition where the brain ignores the visual input from the weaker eye and chooses to only accept the visual information gathered by the stronger eye. This is caused by improper or uneven development of the visual system, whereas one of the eyes is performing better than the other eye, which in turn leads to the brain ignoring the weaker eye. A lazy eye occurs in one eye, whereas the other eye is the dominant one that allows the person to see. However there are rare cases when both eyes can be amblyopic.

Treatment of lazy eye in adults

A misdiagnosis or a partial diagnosis can occur at times, but one of the other things that can happen is not receiving the appropriate treatment recommendation. A patient who has not been diagnosed with a lazy eye until they are 12 years old may be misinformed and told they cannot be treated because they are over the age of eight. Fortunately, a lazy eye can be effectively treated well into adulthood.

Plasticity is an incredible feature of the human brain that allows it to continually adapt and be trained to strengthen/perform new functions. Amblyopia can be treated in this manner since the brain and visual pathways can be trained to work together without suppressing the lazy eye. The concept of plasticity does not only apply to childhood, but also to adulthood, yielding results for both young and old patients.

Why is it important to visit a functional or developmental optometrist if you think you have a lazy eye?

Most optometrists are focused on the visual performance of the eye but there is a specialty in optometry which focuses on more than just the eye’s impact on vision but also all elements that relate to visual function. These eye doctors are sometimes referred to as functional optometrists, developmental optometrists, neuro optometrists, vision therapy doctor, or behavioral optometrists. Often they will have advanced training such as being a fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (FCOVD) or being a fellow in Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (FNORA). Dr. Heather McBryar is FCOVD and a candidate for fellowship in the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association. Her focus on all aspects of visual performance and developmental vision enable her to help patients that have been misdiagnosed or have been told that nothing more can be done.

Get superior care when you schedule an appointment for a functional eye exam at our state-of-the-art optometry clinic in Hixson, conveniently serving patients from Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Middle Valley. Call (423) 321-8233 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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