Lazy Eye, (Amblyopia) is a dimness, or absence of vision in one eye. Lazy Eye actually causes a high percentage of vision loss in the under 40’s age.
The weakness or absence of vision perception may be a result of any of several conditions which can affect the eye during early development. Such as Strabismus, (the eyes are crossed inwards), Exotropia, (the eyes are turned outwards), or significant differences in refractive error of the eyes. For example, one may be short sighted, the other long sighted. When the vision activity from one eye is not actively being used by the brain, the processes for “seeing” do not develop correctly. It is a self deteriorating problem because the brain begins to use the image from one eye more than the other, and this hastens the demise of vision in the other. The brain cells which process vision and color fail to develop for the weaker eye and vision and depth perception can be lost. The result can be part or even complete blindness in the neglected eye.
Early diagnosis is important, because the longer it is left, the more difficult it is to overcome. If the cause is strabismus or some other alignment issue this should be addressed. In cases where the cause is strabismus, the options used can range from surgery and or correction by lenses or glasses.
For lazy eye occlusion, or patching of the stronger eye is also common. This is often referred to as the “pirate patch”. A more recent alternative to patching is the use of drops to reduce the vision in the strong eye and force the other to function. Advanced eye exercises and therapies are also used. Both of these solutions come at a price because while they may “encourage” the weaker eye to work, they reduce the need for the eyes to work together. For this reason there is cause for caution about the use of the pirate patch or drops. The Eye Gym Popeye avoids these problems.
Some believe that any of these type of treatments are only successful up to about the about the age of eight. This is because the brain receptors which should be used by the weaker eye for vision, either fail to develop or actually “hook up” with the stronger eye. This leaves the weaker eye without the “tools” it needs to see! For this reason improving vision in a lazy eye after about the age of 8 is much more difficult.
However, improving vision in lazy eye for older people can be done. Partial occlusion (of the stronger eye), used in conjunction with extensive visual motor therapy has been effective. The use of active eye exercises and vision therapy should be part of treating amblyopia. In any event, if surgery etc is used to address causes, such as severe strabismus, eye exercises and vision therapy should not be neglected.
A good program of vision therapy to improve the individual function of the eye/s and their binocular synchronization may be highly successful in improving the brains “perception” of vision in a lazy eye.
You must do your own research and be confident in the choices you make, but many have found eye exercises are highly beneficial for lazy eye.
The Eye Gym
Copyright, Chris Barrett, B.A.,Th. 2009
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