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Vision Therapy for Amblyopia

Amblyopia can be detected and treated in both children and adults.

Amblyopia is often referred to as "lazy eye" because one eye sees more clearly than the other eye. Amblyopia is the leading cause of vision loss among children, affecting 2 to 3 out of every 100 children. It is important to note that an individual does not "outgrow" amblyopia.

When someone has amblyopia there may not be an obvious problem with the eye. This is why detecting amblyopia is easily missed during vision screenings or eye exams with eye doctors who are not residency trained in pediatric vision care. 

Vision loss caused by amblyopia occurs along nerve pathways between the brain and the eye.  Due to this lack of stimulation, the brain learns to favor one eye due to poor vision in the other eye.

Individuals with amblyopia have decreased depth perception, and have difficulty seeing 3-D images.  Parents often say that their child is clumsy, lacks coordination, and has a tendency to stumble or bump into objects.

Here are some other signs that a child may benefit from an exam and subsequent vision therapy:

  • Avoids close work and reading
  • Skips lines while reading
  • Re-reads lines or uses a finger to keep place
  • Has poor reading comprehension
  • Squints or closes an eye when reading
  • Tilts head to one side when reading
  • Complains of headaches

 

Amblyopia, Reading, And Learning Difficulties

Before we get to some of the main problems amblyopia can cause, here’s a more in-depth explanation: Amblyopia occurs when vision in one eye is worse than the other eye, and the brain does not receive normal nerve signals from the two eyes. When this happens the brain “turns off” signals from the weaker eye and relies only on the stronger eye. When this happens binocular vision (the ability to use the two eyes together) is affected.

Reduced, or lack of, binocular vision affects reading speed. Researchers have found that amblyopia can reduce reading speed by 20% to 50% and negatively affect academic performance – including comprehension. 

As Gibson and Levin (1975) explained long ago: “There is a minimal speed of reading below which the syntactical and meaningful relations within a sentence or a larger unit of discourse do not come through. Reading one word at a time, with pauses between, makes it nearly impossible to extract information beyond the word.” 

For both children and adults, amblyopia can cause problems with reading, depth perception difficulties, headaches, and many other issues. 

If you or your child has been diagnosed with amblyopia, and prescribed patching or atropine drops alone, we invite you to give us a call to learn how vision therapy is used to effectively treat amblyopia.

girl holding up help sign

 

Vision Therapy and Amblyopia

Vision therapy is a highly effective non-surgical treatment for both children and adults for many common visual problems such as amblyopia, crossed eyes (strabismus), double vision, convergence insufficiency, and vision conditions that interfere with learning.

The most effective vision therapy programs provide individualized treatment under the medical supervision of residency-trained neuro-optometrists, utilizing licensed therapists to provide prescribed treatment plans.

Vision therapy improves the speed, flexibility, endurance and accuracy of the visual system's accommodative response (eye focusing), vergence response (eye teaming) and oculomotor skills (eye tracking). Vision therapy also helps develop higher level visual skills, such as visual processing speed and visually-guided motor responses (visual reaction speed or eye-hand coordination).

An easy way to better understand vision therapy is to think of vision therapy as a type of physical therapy for the eyes and the brain. In physical therapy, you relearn or enhance the use of various muscles and body parts that are not functioning properly. In vision therapy you relearn or enhance the function of eye teaming, tracking, convergence, visual perception, eye-hand coordination and visual motor integration. This is possible because vision is a learned process.

To determine whether amblyopia is affecting you or your child, and if vision therapy is the right treatment choice, please give us a call to schedule an assessment. We also offer second opinions.

Posted by Advanced Vision Therapy Center at 8/31/2021 11:50:00 PM
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Advanced Vision Therapy Center is Idaho’s premier clinic for Vision Therapy, Neuro-Optometric Vision Rehabilitation and Sports Vision Training. We offer vision assessments and customized treatment for both children and adults that are tailored to the specific vision condition of each individual.

Not sure which type of vision assessment is right for you? Call us today and we'll help you determine the best assessment to achieve your visual goals.

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