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How to Fix a Lazy Eye: It CAN Be Done

  
  
  

How to Fix a Lazy EyeIf you’ve been told that you or your child is too old to have amblyopia, or "lazy eye" corrected, someone has done you a true disservice.

For years, parents of older children diagnosed with amblyopia, or ’lazy eye’, have been told the child is “too old” for the problem to be corrected.  Yet we’ve helped older children and adults correct their lazy eye and enjoy improved vision.

So why are some parents being told otherwise?

The reason this misinformation continues is tied to a misinterpreted study and some long-held beliefs, neither of which will help you or your child.

(Note: At the end of this post, please check out our 2014 Updates for more information on How to Fix a Lazy Eye.)

What is the source of the misinformation about amblyopia?

In her book Fixing My Gaze, neuroscientist Sue Barry relates how the misconception in the scientific and medical communities began.  

She writes that since the mid-1990s, the “scientific and medical communities have cited strabismus and a related disorder called amblyopia as classic examples of developmental disorders that cause permanent changes in vision if they are not corrected within a critical period in early life.”

The conclusions, she states, were based on experiments by David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel at Harvard Medical School.  The two studied cats that had strabismus, or misaligned eyes.  It was noted that the vision in the cats had not developed normally, and that they could not see in 3D.

Many scientists and doctors assumed the cats would never acquire stereo vision because they had not acquired the ability during what is referred to as a “critical period” of vision development.  In this period, it was assumed, if certain visual skills (specifically visual acuity and stereopsis) were not learned by the brain, they could not be developed later in life.

Hope with a “plastic” brain

Barry cites that more recent scientific research indicates otherwise.  The adult brain appears to be more “plastic” than had been previously thought, and the circuitry of the brain can actually change as a result of our actions and experiences.

In the case of amblyopia, one eye has better visual acuity than the other.   There is also difficulty with depth perception resulting from poor or no development of stereopsis.  A child who has trouble catching and throwing objects, or is clumsy and always bumping into things may have amblyopia.

For years, medical practitioners have referred to the cat study and told people that there is no treatment for amblyopia, as the critical period had passed.   But recent research and treatments using vision therapy have proven otherwise.

Steps to fix a lazy eye

Knowing that the brain can be retrained, developmental optometrists use a variety of methods to get the two eyes to work as a team and see visual space accurately.  

The approach begins with finding the right lens or glasses.  This includes ensuring you or your child has the right prescription to minimize the “bullying” effect of the stronger eye.  Patching and vision therapy, which includes a series of visual activities, may then be used in tandem to retrain the visual system.

Every case of amblyopia is different, and a functional vision test should be administered to determine the extent of the vision problem. 

The good news for parents and children is that amblyopia can be corrected outside the “critical period” for vision development (from three months to three years old).  And that’s critical information for any parent.  

2014 UPDATE

Video Gaming Being Used to Treat “Lazy Eye”:  A trend we noticed over the past year is using video games to help treat a lazy eye (amblyopia).

As we’ve noted before, the condition of amblyopia isn’t simply something that affects one eye.  Your entire visual system must be taken into account.  Specifically, the brain must use both eyes together. 

The video gaming mentioned in the post we linked to above points out the gaming can be used as an activity when patching to help improve the acuity of the eye, which is true.  But simply improving the acuity may not lead to the brain using both eyes together. 

When the patch comes off, the brain may go back to the old way of doing things and acuity gains may be negated Check out our post for more details on the topic.

Lazy Eye Success Story:  In the past year, we also wrote about Maya’s vision therapy success story.  Her family didn’t even realize she had amblyopia.  “We never thought anything was wrong,” her mother Molly said.  Read the full story here.

Other 2013 Posts on Amblyopia (Lazy Eye):

How Do You Know if Vision Therapy Works for Amblyopia and Strabismus?

Amblyopia Treatment for Adults – Is it Possible?

(Photo: lateshoes)

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The Vision Therapy Center has helped over 2,000 people overcome vision problems since 1995, and has Wisconsin vision therapy offices in Brookfield and Madison.

Comments

My left has always had weaker vision than my right eye for as long as I can remember. Both of my eyes have been even, they stay in the same place. But now that I am 16 years old my left eye keeps wondering if I stare to long at something. I was wondering what can I do to not end up having strabismus?
Posted @ Thursday, April 05, 2012 10:33 PM by Breille
If your eye truly is 'wandering' or 'turning out' while the other eye remains straight, then strabismus is already present because the eyes are not aligned under normal binocular viewing conditions. The next step is to have your vision evaluated by a behavioral or developmental optometrist who may recommend vision therapy for the strabismus.
Posted @ Friday, May 11, 2012 11:19 AM by Brandon Begotka
For as long as I can remember my right eye has been going out when either: My glasses are off, i'm really tired, or zoned out. how can I fix this?
Posted @ Wednesday, May 16, 2012 6:49 PM by Cory
how was not born lazy but when me brother was playing he hit me in the now my left wounder off my right stay still im half blind my left eye
Posted @ Thursday, July 26, 2012 2:20 PM by shaquille
This may be a case of in convergence insufficiency. We can't tell you prescribe treatment for you until we see you, however. If you're in Wisconsin, please make an appointment with us. If you're out of state, let us know and we'll try and give you the name of a developmental optometrist.
Posted @ Thursday, July 26, 2012 2:28 PM by Greg Mischio
The previous response was for Cory. For Shaquille, I would advise see a developmental optometrist for a Functional Vision Test. Again, please set up an appointment if you're in Wisconsin, or we can also refer you to another optometrist if you're out of state.
Posted @ Thursday, July 26, 2012 2:29 PM by Greg Mischio
my left eye has always been lower then my right eye and my left eye also goes another direction when i turn my head i wanna know what kind of surgeory i can get to make my eyes even
Posted @ Monday, July 30, 2012 10:29 PM by Quanisha Reynolds
Quanisha - the best course of action would be to set up an appointment with a developmental optometrist. Please refer to our website,www.thevisiontherapycenter.com and contact us to set one up if you're in the Wisconsin area. If you're out of state, fill in your location on the contact form and we can try to refer you to an optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 31, 2012 8:56 AM by Greg Mischio
I am a 40 year male who has lived with a lazy left eye that turns in to the point were in 10 years or so it will turn all the way around if thats really possible. Im in so cal Riverside area. Could it be possible to point me to a doctor in this area. Thanks.
Posted @ Thursday, August 02, 2012 11:39 PM by lonny
So I've know for a while that i've had a lazy eye, to be honest my eye doctor had told me my left eye was lazy and my right eye was a little 'rough' (in the nicest way possible) Iam 24 years old and have noticed lately morew than ever that people are noticing that I have a lazy eye. Although I'm not one to mind to much what one thinks it's almost affecting my work in that Im a bartender in a loud enviorment and eye contact and lip reading is a must. Any ideas as to what I can to do fix this situation? I currently live in Washington State in Seattle. Anything would be greatly appreciated. 
 
Thank you in advance for any help outside of what has already been posted with-in the site. 
 
 
P.S. Iam ashamed to look people in the eyes anymore and it has taken its toll on me. Its been a struggle and would love to correct my eye problems if aim able to.  
 
Again, Thank you.!!!
Posted @ Friday, August 03, 2012 5:40 AM by Clay
I have had my left eye blinded and the optic nerve break my eye wonders to the left are there any thing I can do to correct it , this happened 8years ago it has not bothered me until I started to date again just wanted to know if possible can line them up again. Thanx
Posted @ Thursday, August 09, 2012 1:16 AM by javier veloz
I'm 18 and I'm actually half blind in my right eye, which I've been told my the opthamologist is lazy. My right eye is crossed and is extremely weak. There's even this brown spot in it. Is there perhaps any surgery I can have, or anything at all, to improve my vision in my right eye?
Posted @ Wednesday, August 15, 2012 11:13 PM by Terry Jones
my righ eye is really weak and has a slight turn , how can i fix this ? i get vry annoyed
Posted @ Sunday, August 26, 2012 7:36 PM by jess
My son is 7yrs old when he was younger I patched his eye which really helped a lot his vision is greater in one eye than the other and one of his eyes wonder I don't patch anymore and haven't in a while I still notice his left eye straying I want this fixed but I don't know what I should do or be doing please help
Posted @ Saturday, September 29, 2012 9:27 AM by Tory
Sorry for the slow reply. We'll try and locate a development optometrist in your area and email you the name.
Posted @ Monday, October 01, 2012 12:19 PM by Greg Mischio
We'll try and track down the name of a developmental optometrist in Seattle and email it to you!
Posted @ Monday, October 01, 2012 12:21 PM by Greg Mischio
Javier - where to do you live? Your issue would require an examination, and we need to know if you live in our service area.
Posted @ Monday, October 01, 2012 12:23 PM by Greg Mischio
Terry Jones, Jess and Tory - It's too difficult to answer your questions without a thorough examination. Where do you live? We need to know if you're in our service area. If you're not, we can direct you to someone who can help.
Posted @ Monday, October 01, 2012 12:26 PM by Greg Mischio
my left eye recently started to become a little droopy. I notice when i look at someone i feel i need to focus into one eye and have to think about looking and am not just seeing. like i often feel like I need to blink and stare at one eye. Do I have the same problem? Or could it be something else?
Posted @ Sunday, October 21, 2012 2:13 PM by Svenja
My left eye is weaker than the right eye i am 16 years old and live in india please tell me what can i do to improve my vision??
Posted @ Monday, October 22, 2012 1:34 PM by No name
I am a 36 year old female and I am convinced my right eye is ever slightly lazy, in that it is off center, closer to the outer half than center. It bothers me when I look in the mirror applying my face lotions and makeup and it somehow "ruins" my face. I am a definite noticer of lazy, off centered eyes in other people and it can be a bit distracting looking at them and it certainly is bothersome to me to have to look at my face in the mirror. I do have prescription glasses but only for night driving in unfamiliar places or when I have to see something that is a far distance. I wish there was a nonsurgical, and permanent way to fix my lazy eye.
Posted @ Sunday, October 28, 2012 7:07 AM by KL
Svenja - where do you live? It's very difficult to diagnose conditions like this strictly over the Internet. Tell us where you are located and we'll try and send through a list of a qualified developmental optometrist.
Posted @ Friday, November 02, 2012 4:23 PM by Greg Mischio
KL - where are you located? We'll try and pass along the name of a functional optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Friday, November 02, 2012 4:25 PM by Greg Mischio
I'm 30 yrs old and have an lazy eye all my life. Can it be corrected. It's getting harder to look at people in the face cause I'm so embarrassed my eye just drifts off to the left. Someone help please
Posted @ Tuesday, November 27, 2012 1:44 AM by Miss Jones
I'm 27 years old and have an lazy right eye. I'm mainly using my left eye, but when I covered the left eye, all I only see is blurry, can't read and can't see anything. The last time I went to the eye doctor was in 1999 when I first came in the U.S.A. Now, i wanted to know is there a really treatment or cure for it? I'm staying in Baton Rouge, L.A. I am currently 2nd year medical student and always have a dream to see with both eyes. With both eyes, it is better for me to read, and study better. More importantly, when I have to deal with microscopically. If anyone has any information please help and guide me. Thank you in advance.
Posted @ Friday, December 07, 2012 12:25 AM by Michelle
I live in jacksonville, fl. I have always had bad vision in my right eye and its slightly turned in. When I am really tired or stressed or drinking it turns in more. I really want to know how to correct it
Posted @ Tuesday, December 11, 2012 2:15 PM by meghan
Unfortunately, we don't have offices in Baton Rouge or Jacksonville. Here's a link to an article on how to find a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Tuesday, December 11, 2012 7:20 PM by Greg Mischio
I'm Brionna 15, had a lazyeye all my life it turns allll the way in and maybe is only straight like once a week. I'm so tired been basically bullied all my life and still cry whenever I think about . Pleaseeeeeee tell me a way to fix it, any cause!
Posted @ Thursday, December 13, 2012 4:22 PM by Bionna
It sounds like you have strabismus, which is an eye turn. I'm sorry to hear that. If you're in the Wisconsin area, you'd need to call our office to see if we could help you. Otherwise, here's a link to an article on how to find a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Thursday, December 13, 2012 6:53 PM by Greg Mischio
I am 41. I had a mini stroke during a angioplasty surgey and my right eye looks down now. Can it be fixed?
Posted @ Saturday, December 15, 2012 12:03 PM by Henry Switzer
Mr. Switzer, it is a possibility. Do you live in Wisconsin? If so, contact our office to make an appointment. Otherwise, here's a link to an article on how to find a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Monday, December 17, 2012 2:36 PM by Greg Mischio
My right eye can only move to the left and can not move to the right. Because of this, I am mostly using my left eye. I notice that my right eye is now getting smaller. Can I get my right eye corrected with surgery?
Posted @ Wednesday, December 19, 2012 5:01 PM by Bing
I am 37 and my left eye is smaller than the right I was born like that way. Although my parents could've fix it as a child they chose not too because that were afraid that I would loss complete site. But bothers me now because Im imbrass to look at people and it keeps me off balance I really wish it could be corrected please help me
Posted @ Saturday, December 22, 2012 9:58 AM by Sharon Harris
We would need to see you to evaluate your condition. If you live in Wisconsin, contact our office atwww.thevisiontherapycenter.com. Otherwise, here's a link to an article on how to find a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 01, 2013 8:46 PM by Greg Mischio
Hello everyone. I had a lazy eye as a child (not born with one but was caused by an illness when I was an infant). I was told to have surgery and this was about 25 years ago. Glad my parents didn't listen to the first opinion. Surgery would not have fixed it. I did as the article stated have physical therapy just like any part of your body if the muscle is weak. My eye would just wonder off and do it's own thing.. I had the stronger eye patched and had many other series of visual activities that I had to do daily for almost three years. It was tough (long term commitment as a child) but it worked. I am a living testimony that visual activity/therapy works. 25 plus years later and I have total control of my lazy eye. After I completed the therapy I have never had an issue with my eye again.
Posted @ Thursday, March 21, 2013 11:19 AM by Mmartin
My eye always feels lighterthan the other and it's extremely aggravating it affects my vision so bad I cant sit and watch tv without it attracting another sight. I have to close one eye to even be satisfied at myself, I never look at someone with both eyes open because I fear of bein made fun of. I was going to get it fixed but days later the government cut me of my check and now I don't have no way of payin for it. I've tried getting a job but people think i'm retarted because of my eye.
Posted @ Monday, April 15, 2013 12:38 PM by jacob
We would need to see you to evaluate your condition. If you live in Wisconsin, contact our office atwww.thevisiontherapycenter.com. Otherwise, refer to my early comments for a link to an article on how to find a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Monday, April 15, 2013 2:54 PM by Greg Mischio
i have had a lazy eye all my life, it was first noticed when i was 2 because my eye "wondered off" as my parents would say. i went to the eye doctor the next day and told my parents to patch over my good eye. which they did as they where instructed, and for some reason i had to patch my other eye after some amount of time.(i was very young im not sure how long) but i had to wear the eye patch from the age of 2 till i was 9. after that they said i had "aged out" and this was as good as it was going to get. i got to the eye doctor regularly (once a year) and my vision seems to be fading in my lazy eye. i am now 20 and was just wondering if all the patching and constant prescription changes where done right?(from what i have said in this comment) or was all the years spent trying a failure? and was looking into getting lasik and was wondering with this condition is lasik just a waste of money?
Posted @ Wednesday, April 17, 2013 3:18 AM by Josh Rutledge
Josh - I would highly recommend you see a developmental optometrist. If you haven't tried vision therapy yet, it may definitely be able to help you. If you're in Wisconsin, please contact our office. Otherwise, refer to my comments in the links above for info on how to find a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Thursday, April 18, 2013 8:23 PM by Greg Mischio
what is vision therapy?
Posted @ Saturday, April 20, 2013 1:35 AM by Josh Rutledge
Josh - this video gives a great explanation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHVZotYowxE
Posted @ Saturday, April 20, 2013 8:03 AM by Greg Mischio
I have had a lazy eye for 28 years now( it runs in my family). When I was a teen I read many books and there was one that taught me to train my eye. It work but sometime it still wanders. I wear contacts and its doesn't work the rude doctor told me it can't be fix. I don't believe her. Do I have to have surgery? Or can I train my eye?
Posted @ Tuesday, May 07, 2013 9:43 PM by Felisha
Felisha - it's possible that your vision problem can be corrected, but we would need to test you to accurately diagnose your issue. If you live in Wisconsin, please contact our office, otherwise, refer to the links in the comments above to find a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Wednesday, May 08, 2013 11:20 AM by Greg Mischio
My right eye has always had significantly worse vision, however in the last few years i have noticed it start to get lazy. I am 23 years old and do not recall having a lazy eye in my younger years. I dont wear glasses or contacts, could that be part of the issue? I live in southern california if you have any references for the orange county area
Posted @ Thursday, May 16, 2013 2:19 AM by chelsea
Here's a link to an article on how to find a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Thursday, May 16, 2013 4:06 PM by Greg Mischio
I am 13 year old and if I stare at something for a long time my right eye, well, goes to the right. It only 
gets fixed when I put my hand over my left eye or turn away. Is there any way this can be fixed?
Posted @ Saturday, May 18, 2013 9:17 PM by Heaven
My son is 12 years and has been diagnosed with lazy eye. 
Really appreciate if you could suggest a developmental optometrist in bay area , ca
Posted @ Sunday, June 09, 2013 5:37 PM by Shobha
Please refer to the links in the above comments where we provide links on how to find to a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Sunday, June 09, 2013 8:32 PM by Greg Mischio
Hi my name is Tishana and I had surgery on my eyes when I was 4yrs old bcaus I was crossed eyed. I remember wearing patches and glasses back then. As I grew older it was a little noticeable but now that I'm 38 I can notice it alot. Can I get it corrected
Posted @ Wednesday, August 07, 2013 2:51 PM by Tishana Burke
We would need to see you in our office to make a proper diagnosis. For more info, visitwww.thevisiontherapycenter.com
Posted @ Wednesday, August 07, 2013 4:05 PM by Greg Mischio
Hello my name is Soren. I have had a lazy eye for as long as I can remember. It always bugged me when I was in middle school and high school and people would ask me what I was looking at. Especially cause I was trying to look at them but I guess my eye must wander pretty badly. I had lasik eye surgery done about 2 years ago. I was wondering if there was anyway I could make my lazy eye not as noticable. It really bugs me that I don't want to look anyone in the eyes. 
 
Thanks in advance and by the way I am located around in the Omaha, Nebraska area so if there is anywhere you can tell me to go it would be greatly appreciated. 
 
I was glad to find this website and find out that I am not the only one.
Posted @ Thursday, August 15, 2013 11:12 PM by Soren
Soren - it's hard for us to say without doing an examination. Since we're in Wisconsin, that probably wouldn't work for you. Here's a link to an article on how to find a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Tuesday, August 20, 2013 1:14 PM by Greg Mischio
Hi my left eye has been lazy (bad) my whole life..I've went to eye doctors and all of them tell me that I can't fix it because my brain has trained my eye to be like this...I've tried ignoring that I have a lazy eye and try to wear my hair over my eye to cover it but people still notice it.. is there a way I can fix it I am 22 years old I live in tiffin Ohio and being a cashier is hard because people judge only because of that
Posted @ Sunday, August 25, 2013 11:06 PM by Kathryn Shisler
Kathryn - If you're wearing your hair over your eye, it must mean that you have an eye turn, which is referred to as a strabismic eye. In any case, an amblyopic or strabismic eye can be treated, but we would need to examine you to see if we could help your particular case. We don't have any offices in Ohio, but here's a link to an article on how to find a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Monday, August 26, 2013 1:06 PM by Greg Mischio
I looked at pictures from as early as 9th grade and can see signs of my left eye turning in. It's not terribly noticable but much more noticable than before can it be fixed? I believe its ambylopia. I want to an eye dotor and h said it wasn't very noticeable but i disagree.
Posted @ Monday, September 02, 2013 3:04 PM by Rochelle
It's hard for us to tell without examining your eye. If you're in Wisconsin, please make an appointment with us.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 03, 2013 9:54 AM by Greg Mischio
I am curious if you could tell me what could possibly be wrong with my eyes. I have been shrugged off by several eye doctors because of it. I always thought it was just a lazy eye, but I believe it has something to do with the muscles in my eyes. My right eye can look far to the left while the left one stays looking straight. I cannot look to the left at all with my left eye. I haven't found that one eye wanders or that it affects my depth perception or any of that, but I cant be sure because it has been like this for as long as I can remember.
Posted @ Wednesday, October 16, 2013 12:52 PM by stephanie
We would need to see you to evaluate your situation. If you live in Wisconsin, please visit our websitewww.thevisiontherapycenter.com to schedule an appointment. If you're outside Wisconsin, here's a link to an article on how to find a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Wednesday, October 16, 2013 7:24 PM by Greg Mischio
Hi. I'm a 34 yr old female who had great vision until I was hit in my left eye by my daughter's dad. I started wearing glasses which helped cover the fact that my left eye is now lazy, as well as smaller than my right. I'm now in contacts which makes it more obvious and I'm really self conscious about it. Can u please refer me to someone in shreveport,la that specializes in surgery for this type problem. Thanks very much!!
Posted @ Tuesday, October 29, 2013 8:18 PM by Ms T
Am David from Nigeria. Am 21 years old. When I was little my left eye crosses when ever I stare so long at an object. I was in a fight 9 years ago, my left eye was hit by a stone and it became permanently crossed. Images are very squeezed with that eye, I can't read or identify objects with it. Pls what should I do or can an eye patch correct it?
Posted @ Wednesday, January 01, 2014 4:19 PM by Aruoma David Kelechukwu
Please refer to our responses above if you live outside of Wisconsin, US. We have published links for how to find an optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Wednesday, January 01, 2014 4:46 PM by Greg Mischio
i am living in INDIA ,KERALA,KOLLAM,PARAVUR....I am a 16 years old boy ... 
i wore glasses...my right eye is weaker than left eye.sometimes i can't take control over my right eye...it going lazy.i am shy to face people because of this reason.please help me to correct my lazy eye & improve my eye sight.please i am begging you. 
my no. - +919747084620
Posted @ Friday, January 10, 2014 8:31 AM by Abhijith
So sorry, but we don't have any offices in India, but here's a link to an article on how to find a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Monday, January 13, 2014 8:50 PM by Greg Mischio
I'm a 16 year old male. I had surgery when I was really young to correct my lazy eye but I got hit with a baseball when I was 8 and it started to drift away again and it really bothers me because people tend to make fun of it alot. I still have pretty good vision though. Is there any way I could get that fixed permanently? I live in East Texas
Posted @ Monday, February 24, 2014 7:20 PM by Josh
Check the link in the prior response above your comment. It should take you to a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Tuesday, February 25, 2014 7:25 PM by Greg Mischio
Please send any and all  
information on correcting lazy eye 
...my 9 year old grandson is ridiculed and made fun of by his peers ... this is affecting more than his eyes.
Posted @ Monday, March 10, 2014 8:55 PM by Deana Barton
Download the free report at the end of the article.
Posted @ Tuesday, March 11, 2014 12:09 PM by Greg Mischio
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