“Lazy Eye Haircut” Issue May Discourage Amblyopia Treatment for Adults
A recent article claiming that a lop-sided haircut could affect a child’s eyesight and cause amblyopia was quickly discredited by eye care experts. However, some of the corrective comments may have added to misinformation regarding amblyopia treatment for adults.
The controversy began with an article in the Daily Mail. Optometrist Andrew Hogan warned about the fashion for asymmetrical haircuts, such as the one worn in the photo above with Rihanna. “If it happens from a young age, that eye can become amblyopic.”
Dr. Leonard Press, one of our colleagues and an expert in vision therapy, was then quoted by mnbc.com discrediting the statement. He states that the visual system is “so well-established” after childhood, that “combing your hair over your eye will not do anything to that system.”
As an esteemed colleague and a leader in the field, we know that Dr. Press would agree with us that, despite being “well-established,” the visual system can be trained to overcome an issue like amblyopia - no matter what the age of the patient.
Unfortunately, this message is being lost in the stampede to discredit the initial Daily Mail article. Check out this quote on NME, an online music news magazine.
“The cut off point for the development of the visual system is considered to be 8 years of age,” said Sirjit Sanghera, Ophthalmic Director at Specsavers Tottenham Court Road. “Some people in the US have argued it could be as old as 12 years, but nothing concrete.”
We understand the director’s point here - he’s trying to reassure people that the visual system is pretty well developed by the age of eight, so the haircut can’t have much of an effect.
Unfortunately, someone who has amblyopia may read this and conclude that, since the visual system is basically developed by the age of eight, there is no hope for amblyopia treatment. That’s simply not true.
A study founded by the National Eye Institute stated, “Surprising results from a nationwide clinical trial show that many children age seven through 17 with amblyopia (lazy eye) may benefit from treatments that are more commonly used on younger children.”
This comes as no surprise to practitioners of vision therapy. We’ve provided treatment for many adults older than 17 who have amblyopia, and had great results.
With the same vehemence that the initial Daily Mail article was discredited, we also need to speak out against statements that confuse people on visual development. If the article’s sensationalism causes this type of conversation to take place, then the hubbub will have been well worth it.
Photo source: Luckymag.com
To learn more, download our Free Report "Lazy Eye: Understanding and Treating Amblyopia." It provides an overview of the condition, links to research, and details on effective treatments.
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.