If you suffer from amblyopia — or lazy eye — you are not alone. Research suggests that between two and three percent of the population suffers from the disorder, which means that millions of people in America alone have the condition. In fact, the refractive errors that are commonly associated with amblyopia are considered to be the number one cause of vision impairment for people under 40.
Amblyopia is a fairly common problem, and for many years, it was considered to be untreatable for anyone over the age of 9. However, recent studies have shown that children up to age 17 can now be effectively treated through traditional therapy. Advancements in science and technology are slowly allowing for the effective treatment of adults using vision therapy, as well.
If you or someone you love suffers from amblyopia and you are seeking an effective treatment, read on to learn more about the disorder, its symptoms, and what options you have for combating its effects and improving monocular function.
What is Amblyopia?
Amblyopia is a sight disorder that occurs when the brain cannot properly process the visual input coming in from one or both eyes. Most commonly, the issue occurs in a single eye, which causes the brain to rely on the stronger eye in order to receive visual input. In time, this reliance on the stronger eye can lead to decreased vision in the affected eye.
Symptoms of Amblyopia
There are several symptoms of amblyopia. These include:
- A wandering eye
- Shutting or squinting affected eye
- Tilting of the head to compensate for affected vision
- Poor depth perception
- Blurred vision
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about possible treatment options.
Treatments for Amblyopia
There are a few different ways in which lazy eye can be effectively treated. These methods offer the best results in children under the age of 7 and have not been found to be effective in people over 17. However, there are therapies available that can help to combat the effects of the disorder in people of all ages.
- Eye Patches. An eye patch is worn over the strong eye for two to six hours per day in order to allow the affected eye to become stronger.
- Glasses or Contacts. Vision problems caused by amblyopia can sometimes be corrected through prescription glasses or contact lenses.
- Eyedrops. Atropine is used to blur vision in the strong eye, allowing the weaker eye to strengthen.
- Eyeglass Filter. For amblyopia sufferers who wear glasses, a filter can be placed over the lens of the strong eye so that the weaker eye can develop.
Best Products for the Treatment of Amblyopia
Here are some of the most popular products used in the treatment of lazy eye that are available to the public. For prescription products, such as eye drops, consult a physician.
Ortopad Bamboo Eye Patches
Ortopad Bamboo Eye Patches are made from a bamboo-based fabric. They are hypoallergenic and softer on the skin around the eyes so that a child doesn’t have to worry about abrasions when they receive their amblyopia therapy. The company offers several different fun prints aimed at both young boys and young girls so that kids will be able to find a little joy in choosing the one they like the best.
Eye Patches by Patch Pals
If you’re looking to avoid adhesive eye patches altogether, Patch Pals may be the solution for you. These cloth reusable eye patches come in a wide variety of styles and colors, and they are approved by ophthalmologists and optometrists to treat amblyopia. If your child really wants to get creative, there are embroidery and iron-on options, as well as jewels and stickers for decoration.
Bangerter Occlusion Foil
The Bangerter occlusion foil filters are used on eye glasses to block the vision of the strong eye so that the weaker eye is able to develop strength. This treatment is often used as an alternative when eye patch users are not showing significant improvement. The foil is cut to fit the lens of the child’s glasses and it is then applied using water.
Lazy eye vision therapy from Amblyoplay can help to make the treatment process for your child’s amblyopia fun. Choose from either a 3, 6, or 12-month program that uses games with special 3D glasses to provide strengthening exercises for the affected eye.
Revital Vision is the only therapy that has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of amblyopia in adults. In order to qualify, you must speak to an ophthalmologist or a certified optometrist and take an amblyopia exam. If your results show that the program will prove helpful for you, you will go through a course of 40 thirty-minute training sessions over a three-month period that have been shown in clinical studies to be 25 times more effective than eye patch therapy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions asked about amblyopia and amblyopia treatments.
Can Glasses Make Lazy Eye Worse?
It’s a commonly held myth that eyeglasses can lead to the weakening of the eyes, so it follows that some might think that lazy eye can be worsened by glasses, as well. The opposite is actually true: glasses can help to strengthen your lazy eye.
Can Glasses Really Help Lazy Eye?
When each eye has differing vision, it is known as refractive amblyopia. This form of amblyopia can be treated with the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses. The glasses or contacts can improve vision enough in the affected eye to allow it to strengthen over time.
Which is Better: Patches or Glasses?
Treatment for amblyopia varies widely in its effectiveness. What works wonders for one person may do nothing at all for another. Trial and error is the best course of action for anyone trying to treat lazy eye. If your child is self-conscious with a patch, perhaps glasses are the better option. If the glasses don’t seem to work, move on to the patch. It’s a matter of preference to begin with, but ultimately it’s about perseverance.
Can Lazy Eye Be Corrected with Surgery?
Surgery is occasionally recommended in the treatment of lazy eye, most often when the cause of the lazy eye is a cataract. LASIK eye surgery can also help with lazy eye, but only when the cause is refractive amblyopia.