An eye with "Amblyopia" is one that is otherwise healthy but has reduced vision that glasses do not correct. Even with the best glasses in place, the eye remains partially blind, sometimes legally blind. Amblyopia is also called "Lazy Eye."
There are two main causes of lazy eye.
- Certain types of strabismus can cause lazy eye. If strabismus is "constant" meaning that it is always present, and "unilateral" meaning that the same eye is turned in, the unused eye will become lazy.
- If one eye needs glasses and the other eye is normal, the child will use only the normal eye. The other eye will not develop its proper connections with the brain and its vision will be lost. When the correct glasses are prescribed, the vision in the poor eye does not improve because that eye hasn't "learned to see. Only when active treatment has restored the proper connections in the brain will the vision in the abnormal eye be restored.
In children, Lazy Eye requires immediate treatment
to prevent further loss of vision. Such care helps ensure that if something
happens to a person's good eye that person will not be left partially
blind. An equally important reason to treat a lazy eye, though, is safety.
A person with Lazy Eye may misjudge how far away things are or fail to
see things approaching from the side. A long-term Scandinavian study found
that children with lazy eye were over fifteen times more likely to suffer
accidents to their normal eyes.
Yes. The former belief that you can't treat
a lazy eye after some set age, such as six or nine, is false. In 1977,
three faculty members of the State University of New York, Birnbaum, Koslowe,
and Sanet, reviewed the scientific literature about Lazy Eye and found
little difference in the amount of improvement between persons treated
before age seven or after age sixteen. At Cook Vision Therapy Center we
have been helping even adults for the past two decades.
Studies have shown that extensive patching is not
required so long as exercises that provide intensive stimulation of the
lazy eye are performed for short periods each day. More importantly, the
doctor will also assign exercises that ensure the lazy eye works, not
only when the good eye is patched, but when both eyes are open. Performance
of the two eyes will then be integrated with the six other abilities listed
on the "7 Visual Abilities" web page. In this manner depth
perception will further increase and gains in the lazy eye's vision
have the best chance to remain after treatment is finished. The goal is
to achieve the best possible two-eyed seeing for safety and performance
during sports, driving and study.