Amblyopia, commonly known as "lazy eye," is a condition that develops when one of the eyes is unable to see as well as the other. The brain begins to rely more and more on the better eye and less and less on the weaker eye. When this happens, visual development in the weaker eye can slow or stop. Amblyopia can be caused by several things including unequal prescriptions between the two eyes, an eye that turns in or out, or an eye injury.
In the past, it was thought that amblyopia was not treatable after age 6 or 7. Recent research, however, has shown that amblyopia can be treated in adults as well. Although improvements are typically not as pronounced and take longer to achieve, visual improvements for adults living with amblyopia are possible.
Treatments for amblyopia can include eye patching or various forms of vision therapy activities. In eye patching, the patient wears a patch over the eye with better vision, forcing the brain to use the eye that isn’t seeing as clearly. With the eye patched, the patient engages in activities like drawing, coloring or other up-close tasks to stimulate visual development. The amount and length of therapy prescribed vary depending on the severity of the amblyopia.