Lazy Eye: What is It?

lazy eye, florida eye specialists and cataract institute

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “lazy eye” and are wondering what it refers to. Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute wants to shed some light (pun) on this condition. Another name for this eye problem is Amblyopia.

What is it?
Amblyopia is a condition that results when one eye is used less than the other. Many people under 40 experience this reduced vision in one eye. Although this problem affects just one eye, the other eye may have a poorer vision because of it. Many children under the age of six show some form of Amblyopia.

Glasses, contact lenses, and surgery do not correct lazy eye. Loss of depth perception is one of the results. It has been shown that the loss of vision is taking place in the brain, rather than in the eye. It is a neurological condition, rather than an eye condition. Due to this, treatment often centers around re-training the brain to see.

In History
This eye condition has been shown to have been diagnosed as early as 900 A.D.; it was written by Thabit Ibn Qurrah of Mesopotamia that amblyopia due to misaligned eyes (strabismus) could be treated by patching the better eye, forcing the eye that is lazy to be used more. Years later, George Louis Leclerc, Count de Buffon (1743) was given credit for using patches to improve this condition.

Some Common Causes of Amblyopia
You might be interested in knowing the cause of an eye that is “lazy”. These might include:
● Physical blockage due to cataract or trauma as well as blocked tear duct, etc.
● Constant strabismus, which is turning the eye in one direction constantly.
● Differences in prescription between two eyes called Anisometropia
● Deficiency of Vitamin A may lead to this condition

Treatment
Treatment can help; however, the best deterrent is early detection through a comprehensive eye exam. Scientific studies have shown that treatment in older children, teens, and adults can lead to improvement since the brain can change at any age. This has been backed up by the theory of Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity finds that cells in the brain can recover, change and develop, regardless of the age of the person. Visual therapies (Vision Therapy) have been studied in both children and adults.

The successful treatment that you might encounter is to encourage the use of the eye as much as possible. Sometimes corrective lenses that offer the bad eye the clearest vision can encourage its use. An eye patch has also been used on the better eye as well as eye drops to blur the good have been used to force the person to use the eye that is lazy. Also found to improve the condition and stimulate the use of the eye in children are: reading, playing video games and using the computer.

Often older adults are told that nothing can be done to treat this condition. This was the previous thinking when it came to Amblyopia. However, that was in the past; today there are newer treatments that can be used, including in-office visits to train the eye (Vision Therapy). You will be encouraged to use both eyes at various distances. This type of treatment and other exercises are effective in treating people of all ages.

If you have been diagnosed with lazy eye and want treatment or want a comprehensive eye exam to determine if it is a condition that you or your child has, Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute can help. We diagnose and offer treatments for this condition. We treat our patients like friends and offer the latest in technology and treatments as well.

Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute is a leader in eye health and is a leader in eye care in Tampa Bay. Since 1982, our offices have been regarded as the western coast of Florida’s premier eye care provider. Give us a call to schedule an appointment to learn if you or a loved family member may have Amblyopia.