What is Amblyopia
Amblyopia is often referred to as Lazy Eye. It is a condition where the brain does not process the information as well in the amblyopic eye. This is an active process in the brain. With the appropriate use of therapy the brain can be trained to begin to use the information properly again.
Causes of Amblyopia
Amblyopia affects about 1 in 30 individuals. It can be caused either from a strabismus (eye turn) or from a difference in the prescription of the two eyes. If there is an eye turn the two eyes are looking at different images, causing double vision. Over time this leads to amblyopia. Also, if there is a large enough difference in the prescription of the two eyes, the brain will ignore the blurry image with the same result of amblyopia.
Effects of Amblyopia
- 3-D vision, or depth perception is affected. This is important if you ever want to enjoy the new 3-D movies. It affects sports ability and also will affect driving ability.
- Eye focusing is decreased and less accurate. This can affect the ability to copy from the board and can cause difficulty with sustained reading and near work.
- Tracking ability is reduced. It is more difficult for the amblyopic eye to track words on a page or to follow a ball when playing a sport.
- Slower reading rates. Studies have shown that children with amblyopia read significantly slower than those without amblyopia.
Treatment of Amblyopia
Treatment begins with minimizing the cause of the amblyopia. Whether it is from an eye turn or unequal prescriptions. The proper use of prisms and lenses in glasses stimulates the eyes to begin to work together and encourages the amblyopic eye to use more of the information it is receiving.
Patching has long been the method of treating amblyopia. However, patching can cause discomfort and have many social issues associated with it. Patching becomes a source of daily conflict between parent and child, resulting in poor compliance and outcomes. Recent studies have shown that with appropriate treatment you can minimize or eliminate the need for daily patching. In our program of Optometric Vision Therapy we use specific activities, lenses, and prisms to obtain excellent results.
Adult amblyopia treatment is also very effective. The wonderful ability of our brain to adapt to new stimuli allows the improvement of acuity and function to occur when a program of Amblyopic Vision Therapy is followed.
Our Vision Therapy program is designed to not only improve the acuity, but to also help the two eyes work together. The degraded information from the amblyopic eye inhibits the ability of the eyes to communicate with each other. Vision Therapy trains the eyes to work as a team. This improves their ability to aid in the process of reading and learning.