Lazy eyes are often considered a cosmetic issue, but did you know the strength of your vision can have an effect on the strength of your eye? For sufferers of refractive amplyopia, correcting the lazy eye may be as simple as improving its vision.
Prescription Eyewear Is a Must
While not all lazy eyes are caused by visual impairment, a diagnosis of refractive amplyopia specifically indicates that your eyes have different strengths. The reason this needs to be addressed before you do anything else is that your eye will continue to return to laziness if you don't address the refractive errors.
When you vision is conflicting between eyes, your brain compensates by blurring or ignoring the weaker one. As a result, uncorrected refractive errors in your lazy eye will cause it to keep becoming lazy as your brain tries to make sense of what you're seeing.
On the flip side, once you have glasses that correct the errors in each eye individually, your brain won't have a reason to ignore your lazy eye anymore. With the vision in both eyes matching, you'll start to take in more information with your non-dominant. Over time, this helps it return to health.
Vision Therapy Helps Train Your Lazy Eye
Since your lazy eye has missed out on quite a lot of activity over the years, getting it back into shape won't be an easy task. Fortunately, vision therapy can help speed up the recovery by acting as a sort of training regimen for your weaker eye.
The primary treatment for a lazy eye is to disable vision in the other eye with an eye patch or special drops that cause the vision to blur. Now that your brain is totally reliant on your weak eye in order to see, its development will speed up. For best results, most doctors recommend 4-6 hours per day of using only your weak eye.
Vision therapy is also key to speeding up the recovery of your lazy eye. During a vision therapy session, you'll use your non-dominant eye to solve puzzles, read increasingly smaller and smaller print, and generally perform tasks that are specially designed to give your eye a good workout. If using your lazy eye on its own is like exercise, then your vision therapist is like the aerobics instructor, making sure you get the best possible workout to strengthen your eye muscles.
If All Else Fails, Surgery May Help
Sometimes even a lazy eye caused by refractive errors can't be corrected just by correcting these errors. This is more common with severe cases and with adults who have gone their whole lives without receiving treatment for their condition.
Fortunately, surgical solutions do exist to help your eye return to normalcy. Typically, these solutions involve manipulating the eyes muscles to reposition it so that it points in the right direction. For example, if your eye muscles are pushing the eye to the side, your ophthalmologist may go in and weaken the muscles to allow it to point forward. Alternately your muscles may be surgically strengthened if their initial weakness is the problem.
Once surgery is complete, you'll need to continue your vision therapy as normal. Surgery provides a jump start in dealing with the condition, but maintaining ocular health is a matter of perseverance. If you stop practicing with your non-dominant eye after surgery and its vision is not yet sufficiently improved, it could become lazy again.
Whether you're an adult sufferer of refractive amplyopia or the parent of a child who has it, it's never too late to correct a lazy eye. Once you have glasses that correct the refractive errors in the weak eye, you'll be amazing what diligent practice can accomplish. You can click to read more about your options and how you can start the process.
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