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Optometry and Amblyopia / Strabismus

Strabismus – is the inability to point both eyes in the same direction at the same time. One eye may appear to turn in, out, up or down.

The eye turn may change from one eye to the other, and may only appear when a person is tired or has done a lot of reading. Strabismus may cause double vision. To avoid seeing double, vision in one eye may be ignored resulting in a lazy eye (also known as amblyopia).

While eye muscle surgery can sometimes straighten the eyes, rarely is an eye turn a “muscle-only” problem. People are becoming more aware of non-surgical options for a turned eye.

Amblyopia – or lazy eye, is described as reduced vision in one or both eyes, despite the eyes being structurally healthy. According to the National Institute of Health, amblyopia is the most common cause of visual impairment among children.

Recent research has shown that amblyopia is a disorder of the brain’s ability to use both eyes together as a team. In addition to poor visual acuity, people with amblyopia are more prone to have difficulties with depth perception, eye movements related to reading, and visual decision making while driving.

The commonly prescribed treatment of amblyopia is ‘Patch’ therapy. The patient wears a patch over the “good” eye for 1-2 hours at a time. Patch therapy can cause confusion and visual disorientation. It can also cause problems for spatial judgment and depth perception. A program of Vision Therapy is often necessary to restore full visual function.

Age is generally not a factor in the success of a vision therapy program as the brain is very adaptable. Recent studies show that there is no magic age when the brain stops learning and changing. Vision therapy helps make changes in the visual pathways no matter the age.