What is lazy eye (Amblyopia)

Lazy eye, also known as amblyopia, is the eye condition noted by reduced vision not correctable by glasses or contact lenses and is not due to any eye disease. For some reason, the brain does not fully acknowledge the images seen by the amblyopic eye. This almost always affects only one eye but may manifest with reduction of vision in both eyes. It is estimated that three percent of children under six have some form of lazy eye.

Many people confuse a crossed or turned eye (strabismus) with a "lazy eye," but lazy eye (amblyopia) and strabismus are not the same condition. Some of this misunderstanding may be due to the fact that strabismus can cause amblyopia. Lazy eye can result from a constant unilateral strabismus (i.e., either the right or left eye turns all of the time). Alternating or intermittent strabismus (an eye turn which occurs only some of the time) rarely causes lazy eye.

A deviating eye (strabismus) may be easily noticed, lazy eye without strabismus or associated with a small deviation usually can not be spotted by either you or your pediatrician. Only an eye doctor comfortable in examining young children and infants can detect this type of amblyopia. This is why early infant and pre-school eye examinations are so necessary.

Due to misunderstanding or misuse of the terms for different visual conditions (i.e., crossed eyes vs. lazy eye), many people are inaccurately labelled as having a "lazy eye." If you think you or someone you know has lazy eye, it is recommended that you learn more about lazy eye and the different types of Strabismus. This way you can find out if your really have labelled your condition correctly.

What causes lazy eye

Both eyes must receive clear images during the critical period (birth to 6 years of age). Anything that interferes with clear vision in either eye during the critical period  can result in lazy eye. The most common causes of lazy eye are constant strabismus (constant turn of one eye), anisometropia (different vision/prescriptions in each eye), and/or blockage of an eye due to trauma, lid droop, etc. If one eye sees clearly and the other sees a blur, the good eye and brain will inhibit (block, suppress, ignore) the eye with the blur. Thus, lazy eye is a neurologically active process. The inhibition process (suppression) can result in a permanent decrease in the vision in that eye that can not be corrected with glasses, lenses, or lasik surgery.

How is lazy eye diagnosed

Since lazy eye usually occurs in one eye only, many parents and children may be unaware of the condition. Far too many parents fail to take their infants and toddlers in for an early comprehensive vision examination and many children go undiagnosed until they have their eyes examined at the eye doctor's office at a later age.

The most important diagnostic tools are the special visual acuity tests other than the standard 20/20 letter charts currently used by schools, pediatricians and eye doctors. Examination with cycloplegic drops can be necessary to detect this condition in the young.

How can lazy eye be treated

Lazy eye can be successfully treated up to the age of 17. Early treatment is usually simple, employing glasses, drops, vision therapy and/or patching. Detection and correction before the age of two offers the best chance for a cure.

According to current research, lazy eye can not be cured to normal 20/20 stereo vision without early detection and treatment. However, treatment for older children and adults is usually successful in improving vision and should be attempted. Treatment of lazy eye after the age of 17 is not dependent upon age but requires more effort including vision therapy. Every lazy eye patient deserves an attempt at treatment.
Strabismus is responsive to treatments at all ages. Therefore, as explained earlier, it is important to make careful distinction between amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus.

To quote one of our members, Dr. Leonard J. Press, FAAO, FCOVD: "It's been proven that a motivated adult with strabismus and/or amblyopia who works diligently at a vision therapy like Eyerobics can obtain meaningful improvement in visual function. As many patients are fond of saying: "I'm not looking for perfection; I'm looking for you to help me make it better". It's important that eye doctors don't make sweeping value judgments for patients. Rather than saying "nothing can be done", the proper advice would be: "You won't have as much improvement as you would have had at a younger age; but I'll refer you to a vision specialist who can help you if you're motivated."

In conclusion, improvements are possible at any age, but early detection and treatment offer the best outcome. If not detected and treated early in life, lazy eye can cause a permanent loss of vision with associated loss of stereopsis (two eyed depth perception). Better vision screenings are needed for young children. The 20/20 eye chart screening is not adequate.

Lazy eye causes more visual loss in the under 40 group than all the injuries, and diseases combined in this age group.

How can Eyerobics help

The most common causes of lazy eye are constant strabismus (constant turn of one eye), anisometropia (different vision/prescriptions in each eye), and/or blockage of an eye due to trauma, lid droop, etc. If one eye sees clearly and the other sees a blur, the good eye and brain will inhibit (block, suppress, ignore) the eye with the blur. Eyerobics can help with re-aligning  your eyes so that your brain can receive clear images and the suppression is halted.

The problem with amblyopia caused by strabismus or anisometropia is the different tensions of the eye muscles pulling one eye to the side. If all muscles would be as strong and tight than it would be impossible for your eye to involuntarily move to one direction. The Eyerobics program is a program of eye exercises based on the Bates Method. This is a well known method developed by Dr William Bates in the 20's.
The eye exercises are designed to address most eye disorders including amblyopia by improving the function of your eye muscles and at the same time relaxing them. The focus on improving your eye muscles enables your eyes to re-align themselves.

This is recognised by ophthalmologists as they  prescribe a procedure to cure stabismus by making incisions into the muscle tissue to enable it to lengthen. Obviously stretching and relaxing the muscles in a natural way is a far better alternative. Surgery is very expensive, has complications due to the scar tissue that it creates and is risky.

"After suffering from lazy eye since my childhood (I am not 34) I heard about Eyerobics from a friend and decided to give it a go. I am normally quite sceptical towards alternative therapies, but that attitude is chanign rapidly. Your program has helped me to get my normal eyesight back!! After haveing seen many eye doctors I was ready to give up. I am so happy that my friend told me about Eyerobics and that I tried your fantastic program. I am now more confident in public and notice people are not looking at me in a weird way anymore. But most important I can see clearly again!!

I have given the DVD to friend who suffers from myopia and he too has had great results!

Thanks heaps."

Sheryl Bronson, Vic, Australia

Find out how Eyerobics can help you regain clear eyesight.