what is a lazy eye or amblyopia

The Facts About Lazy Eye

Lazy eye (medical term Amblyopia) is a condition triggered by uneven vision. Issues normally occur in children at a young age, where one eye is able to focus well and the other has trouble processing an image. You might see someone with an amblyopia unable to look in the same direction with each eye, resulting in a “cross-eyed” affect.

What Causes Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)

When we are children, many vision issues experienced are corrected for us by our remarkable brain. Our minds will process a blurry image from our weak eye and rely on the vision produced by the good eye, cancelling out the blurry image. After time, the brain becomes trained to ignore all of the signals coming from the weaker eye. Through this process, the eye that is seeing poorly will actually begin to deteriorate. Due to our brains forgetting about the weaker eye, it fails to hold the eye in place resulting in a wandering eye.

Amblyopia can also be caused by an eye condition known as strabismus. With strabismus, an ocular misalignment ensues. The condition will cause one eye to turn inward or outward, and the patient will experience double vision. Again, the brain will choose to ignore the faulty signal and instead correct the patient’s vision by relying on the signal being sent from the stronger eye.

A lazy eye cannot be corrected wearing glasses. However, the following eye exercises develop and support routine vision and can improve depth perception of the eye, and in time, get rid of the lazy eye. Consult a doctor prior to using eye exercises.

Exercises for the Treatment of Lazy Eye

  • Focusing Skills: Exercises that are based on eye focus and involve a swift shifting between the perceptions of near and far away images can be helpful. When investigating how to aid in fixing lazy eye, this exercise is particularly important for children in school who have trouble seeing the blackboard. To try these exercises at home, you might tape a normal calendar on one wall. On an opposite wall, hang a poster of larger numbers or words to read. Stand in the middle and shift your focus to alternate between reading objects, large print and small print.
  • Tracking: Remember watching Pac Man glide through mazes and dodge ghosts all over arcade game screens? Tracking exercises for the eye can improve both peripheral vision and central vision. Use video games or simply watch your finger as you move it in front of you.
  • Eye Patch: Wearing an eye patch on the stronger eye will force the brain to process vision in a different way. This forces the brain to strengthen the connection that has been deteriorating in the weaker eye. Your doctor will assign the length of time he or she feels the patch should be worn.
  • Eye Rolling: The rolling of the eyes can help strengthen the muscles that control eye movement. To enact this exercise, sit down on the floor with your legs crossed. Without moving your head, look up at the ceiling for five seconds. Next, down at the floor for a five second count; then repeat this activity by looking left and right. At the end, look down at your own nose, and then squeeze your eyes shut tight and rest for a few seconds. Very slowly, open your eyes and begin to use your eye muscles again.

How Will Eye Muscle Surgery Help to Get Rid of Lazy Eye?

While using surgical means to tighten up the muscles that rest underneath the eyeball will help to hold a wandering eye straight, it will not have any effect in improving a patient's vision as the brain is controlling the eye. Those who have eye surgery to correct lazy eye often experience their eye deviating back to wandering again, especially when tired. If you do undergo surgery, anticipate recommendations by your eye surgeon for repeat surgeries down the road.

If you or your child is considering undergoing strabismus surgery, talk to your surgeon about goals and expected outcomes. Discuss the advantages of receiving a cosmetic cure, how it might affect your binocular cure, and what eye exercises might be used to retrain your brain.

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