Strabismus & Amblyopia

It is never too late to treat a lazy eye

Any treatment that addresses the eye muscles alone will likely not change the brain and nervous system enough to improve vision

Research has shown that both strabismus and amblyopia can be treated at any age

Vision therapy trains the brain to use both eyes together as a team

Strabismus, commonly referred to as an eye turn, crossed-eyes or wall-eyed, is a visual condition in which an individual’s eyes are not aligned; this can occur intermittently or be constant. The eye turn may be inward, outward, upward, downward or a combination of these.  In order for the individual to not have double vision, the brain will often suppress one eye, which can result in Amblyopia (“lazy eye”).

Amblyopia, commonly referred to as lazy eye, is a visual condition in which vision is reduced due to the eye and brain not working together properly.  This reduction in vision is not a result of ocular disease.  Amblyopia most commonly occurs in one eye, but can occur in both eyes.  A few possible causes of amblyopia are strabismus (eye turn), asymmetric prescription, high prescription or cataract.  According to the National Institute of Health, amblyopia is the most common cause of visual impairment among children.

Someone with Strabismus or Amblyopia may experience:

  • Reduced depth perception

  • Poor spatial localization (where your brain perceives an object in space)

  • Headaches due to visual stress

  • Self-esteem issues due to appearance of “crossed eyes” or “wandering eyes”

  • Visual processing problems

Previously, it was thought that individuals with these conditions couldn’t be helped after a certain age, the “critical period”.  In the past, the cut off age for treating amblyopia was typically around age 7-9.  Recent research has disproven this long-held belief and shown that both strabismus and amblyopia can be treated at any age.

Why not Patching or Surgery?

Traditionally patching has often been used as a treatment for these conditions. Patching can lead to increased visual acuity (eye sight) in the unpatched eye, but does not train the brain to use both eyes together as a team. Instead patching actually encourages the brain to only use one eye at a time.  When patching is discontinued the brain will resume the way it knows best how to use the eyes, and thus regression typically occurs.

Surgery typically only treats the cosmetic elements of strabismus, it does not restore binocular vision (eye teaming). In most cases, strabismus is not caused by a problem with the eye muscles themselves, instead it is usually due to the brain having a hard time controlling & coordinating the two eyes together as a team.  Even though the eyes appear straighter after surgery the brain typically continues to only use one eye at a time leaving a person with double vision, suppression, and/or lacking depth perception.  Often the eye will turn again over time, therefore requiring multiple surgeries over the individual’s lifetime. Any treatment that addresses the eye muscles alone will likely not change the brain and nervous system enough to improve vision.

Vision Therapy for Strabismus and Amblyopia

Vision therapy is a non-surgical treatment that strengthens the Amblyopic or Strabismic eye and trains the brain to use both eyes as a team. Research has shown over and over again that vision therapy is an effective treatment for strabismus and amblyopia. Vision therapy can improve binocular vision and depth perception, along with other functional visual skills. With training, vision becomes comfortable and efficient. In addition to this, it also creates cosmetic improvements that are lasting.

The team at InDepth Vision are trained to design a vision therapy program to treat Amblyopia and Strabismus. Through a variety of eye exercises, body work, lenses, and/or other therapy devices the patient will be lead to the ability to make lasting changes in their eyes, body and brain.  If you, or someone you know has an eye turn or lazy eye, call the clinic today to schedule an appointment to see how we can help.

For more information regarding Strabismus and Amblyopia, please call our office or visit: