Amblyopia

Amblyopia in

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What is Amblyopia?

Amblyopia is a condition commonly referred to as a “lazy eye”. It occurs when there is a lack of coordination between both eyes. Each eye is receiving its own picture that does not align with the other so in order to compensate, the brain ignores or suppresses the image from one of the eyes. This causes a phenomenon where only one eye can reach 20/20 vision, leaving the other suppressed eye with less clear vision which results in amblyopia.
Amblyopia is quite noticeable when it is caused by one eye wandering in and out, however there are other causes that are more challenging for a parent to detect. If you think your child might have a lazy eye, please and who will be happy to check if your child has amblyopia and through vision therapy, both eyes can start working together again in an optimal manner.

Conditions

There are various causes of amblyopia, such as:
  • One eye wanders in and out - this is the most common type of amblyopia and is the most noticeable
  • High power prescription in both eyes
  • One eye has a higher power prescription than the other
Conditions
Treatment

Treatment

The good news is that vision therapy can help tremendously in cases of amblyopia. There are two main goals when trying to work with a patient with amblyopia:

  1. The first step is to make sure that the patient has the most appropriate prescription for the required optical correction. This avoids any refractive error and ensures the proper alignment.
  2. Various vision therapy methods are employed to train the eyes to work together properly, allowing the brain to be able to interpret the images from both eyes and form one clear image instead of suppressing one eye.
Treatment

In the past it was thought that the best way to treat amblyopia is by using patching, which means closing the stronger eye in order to force the brain to learn how to properly use the weaker eye. The hope is that once the patch is removed, the brain will know how to use both eyes together properly. We still use patching but we assist this method by adding some stepping stones which help transition from using vision with one eye, known as monocular vision, to gradually using binocular vision, when the patch is removed and both eyes are working together. It’s been verified that this coupled with patching is much more effective.

Common Questions

Neuroplasticity is the phenomenon that the brain can adapt to new changes and can be trained to accomplish new tasks. This bears significance to learning a new skill, memory, healthy development and brain damage recovery. This concept applies to amblyopia and to vision therapy in general, as the purpose is to train the brain to learn how to interpret the signals from our eyes in the most effective way possible, enabling both eyes to work together as efficiently as can be without the brain reacting by filtering out the signals from one eye.
It used to be thought that we could only train the brain using the concept of neuroplasticity only up until age eight. We now know that neuroplasticity applies well into adulthood which enables us to successfully achieve goals through vision therapy in older children, teenagers and even in adults. It is true that the effectiveness is often lower in adults than it is in children, however neuroplasticity still allows us to achieve great improvement in the overall function of adults which can greatly improve their lifestyle. For example, sometimes with adults the goal is not to reach 20/20 vision, but rather to strengthen peripheral perception so that when driving, the adult can be more aware of the surroundings, more comfortable with the cars around you, allowing for safe driving. The goal of vision therapy for adults could have more of a focus on day to day functionality as opposed to visual acuity on the eye chart.
Amblyopia
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Summary

Amblyopia is a condition where both eyes are not working together as strongly as possible, causing the brain to ignore the image being received from the weaker eye. Thankfully, there are great methods using vision therapy and eye patching to train the brain to work with both eyes together to form one clear image and optimizing the visual signals from both eyes.

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