Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) Treatment
Amblyopia or lazy eye is a treatable form of vision loss. It occurs when the brain and eye are not working together properly, causing reduced vision in one or both eyes. Unlike strabismus, which is a crossed or turned eye, the amblyopic eye may look normal. However, when there is a disruption in binocular vision or eye teaming the brain will shut off the weaker eye in favor of the stronger eye. Left untreated, amblyopia can affect a child’s self-image, work, school, friendships and may also lead towards depression.*
Amblyopia typically develops during infancy and early childhood but can occur in adults as well. This condition affects over 12 million people in the US alone (about 3.5% of the US population). Those with amblyopia experience mild to severe vision loss in one or both eyes. Symptoms typically include:
- Impaired depth perception
- Poor eye-hand coordination
- Frequent tripping or other accidents
- Trouble with processing information visually
- Struggling with reading or comprehension
There are three types of amblyopia:
- Strabismic amblyopia – This common form of amblyopia occurs when the eyes are misaligned, with a condition medically known as strabismus. To avoid double vision, the brain shuts off the weaker eye, known as suppression.
- Refractive amblyopia –This form of amblyopia occurs when one eye has significantly uncorrected nearsightedness or farsightedness. When this happens, the brain favors the eye with better vision and shuts off the weaker eye, known as suppression.
- Deprivation amblyopia –This form of amblyopia occurs when something obstructs light from entering an eye, such as cataracts or astigmatism. As a result of the obstruction, one eye becomes weaker and the brain favors the eye without the obstruction, turning off the weaker eye. This is known as suppression.
Historically, amblyopia treatment was limited to occlusion therapy, patching or atropine eye drops. However, as most doctors know, patient compliance is poor because of the many negative side effects of patching and drops. Furthermore, patching can cause many battles when trying to force a child to comply with wearing their eye patch.
Outside of the classroom, a child can have trouble with social interactions and bullying due to forced patching. Kids just don’t want to wear their eye patch because it impacts their quality of life and atropine drops can cause light sensitivity and disorientation. As a result, amblyopia doesn’t always go away with occlusion therapy alone. Even the patient who has done occlusion therapy will typically have a condition, known as suppression, where the amblyopic eye shuts off, leading to stereo blindness and a deficient in depth perception, being accident prone and poor eye-hand coordination. Therefore, occlusion therapy is an outdated and largely ineffective approach to a complex and serious vision disorder.
Wow Vision Therapy provides advanced amblyopia vision therapy. This method emphasizes the development of binocular vision and visual information processing. All treatment sessions are conducted in the office by a trained vision therapist, under the supervision of a doctor, along with guided in-home activities. There are no negative side effects of vision therapy since our treatment is engaging and eye patching has a minimal role. As a result, our patients gain significantly faster and better results, including restoration of sight, depth perception, visual processing abilities and eye-hand coordination.
Age is not a barrier to the treatment of amblyopia! Research shows there is neuroplasticity in the adult brain and by applying the advanced amblyopia treatment protocols, like we use a Wow Vision Therapy, adults with amblyopia can be successfully treated.
Our advanced binocular vision treatment includes:
- Binocular vision therapy with virtual reality (VR) gaming
- Perceptual learning
- Visual processing development
- Oculomotor therapy
- Accommodation “focusing” development
- Eye-hand coordination training
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES and Research
The below links are for scholarly research on amblyopia treatment.
Advanced Treatment for Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) | Wow Vision Therapy
Successful Advanced Amblyopia Treatment | Wow Vision Therapy
Successful Treatment of Amblyopia | Wow Vision Therapy
Successful Adult Amblyopia Treatment | Wow Vision Therapy