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Home » Vision Therapy » Why Visit a Developmental Optometrist » Amblyopia » Q&A with Dr. Shirley Ha about Lazy Eye & Strabismus

Q&A with Dr. Shirley Ha about Lazy Eye & Strabismus

Is eye patching effective at correcting a lazy eye or not at all?

Eye patching can show how much improvement of the visual acuity that the lazy eye is capable of achieving. However, patching also tells the brain that the individual doesn’t need both eyes working together and to just use the unpatched eye to see. Once a person stops the patching, the visual acuity often drops because very little or nothing was taught about how the eyes can work together as a team.

Why does eye patching refer to the lazy eye as bad?

Eye patching often nicknames the eye that sees clearly as the good eye & the lazy eye as the bad eye. By patching the good eye, theoretically, the bad eye will start to push itself to see. However, these names often miss the true problem, and this is where, often, patching fails.

To illustrate the point, we’d rather call the better seeing eye as “bossy” and the lazy eye as “shy”.

A shy eye often can see just fine and, in fact, it may not be the problem. Rather, the bossy eye just doesn’t want to work with the shy eye and simply takes over. At A-Ha Vision, we want to empower you to tell the bossy eye to back off and allow both eyes to work together. Patching fails to address this aspect, leaving the bossy eye to eventually suppress the shy, lazy eye once again when patching stops.

Do you have an idea why strabismus and lazy eye are confused by most people?

Strabismus is an eye turn. When someone has an eye turn, that eye can also develop as a lazy eye or Amblyopia, where it won’t see 20/20 no matter what you do. Strabismus can also have perfect vision in both eyes and the person simply switches between which eye is active to see. This is called alternating strabismus.

Amblyopia or lazy eye is a problem in the acuity in one eye and can also be refractive. If the best vision achievable is 20/30 or less in an eye, that eye is considered a lazy eye or amblyopic. Since strabismus often leads to a lazy eye, this can cause confusion.

What causes lazy eye or strabismus?

When your eyes don’t work together as a team, it places stress on the brain. Therefore, the brain will decide to turn the eye in or out (Strabismus) or blur an eye (Amblyopia or lazy eye) in order to disable that eye from functioning. This forces the person to see with just one eye and reduce the strain on the brain.

The goal of vision therapy is to rebuild the connection between the eyes and the brain, based on neuro-science and neural plasticity, to get the lazy eye back to normal vision and the two eyes working together again, easily and effortlessly.