Amblyopia (commonly known as ‘lazy eye’) is a result of decreased vision in one eye, causing an imbalance in the visual system. Naturally, one eye takes over the visual system, resulting in a “strong eye” and “weak eye”. To decrease symptoms, the brain typically shuts down or suppresses the weak eye to avoid double vision and other symptoms. Amblyopia usually occurs early on in life, and is caused by a dramatic prescription difference between the eyes, or, a misalignment of the eyes (strabismus).
Strabismus occurs when one or both eyes are turned in (esotropia), out (exotropia), up (hypertropia), or down (hyoptropia). Similar to amblyopia, the brain tends to shut down the turned eye to avoid visual stress. Vision therapy can be seen as a holistic approach to restoring the visual system, as patching and surgery alone are not effective. Therapy typically includes primitive reflexes, prism lenses, and self-awareness activities. It is important to exercise and train both eyes in monocular (one eye) and binocular (two eye) fields. Upon completion of vision therapy, patients will have better control of their eyes, depth perception, self-control, and coordination.