There is so much more to your vision than clarity. Behind the scenes, dozens of intricate systems work together to support your sight, track objects, and support coordination.
Amblyopia affects everyone differently, and it could lead to permanent vision problems if not treated. Today, we’ll look at how vision therapy is uniquely designed to support your visual skills and what our team can do to address amblyopia using personalized strategies and technologies.
If you or your loved one has amblyopia or struggles with problems affecting visual skills like depth perception, eye-hand coordination, or focusing, please get in touch with us today.
Through our comprehensive consultation process and the support of the vision therapy team at The Mind’s Eye Center, we can develop a personalized treatment plan to help support your sight.
What Is Amblyopia?
Amblyopia is an eye issue often characterized by reduced vision in one or both eyes. In the past, doctors believed that it was a problem with the affected eye itself, even going so far as to call the condition “lazy eye.”
Today, with the help of modern optometric practices and advanced neurological studies, we now understand that it’s actually a problem with the brain’s ability to use both eyes effectively. Some issues that can cause amblyopia include:
- Uneven refractive errors in both eyes
- Eye turn (strabismus)
- Congenital cataracts
- Ptosis (droopy eyelid)
As amblyopia develops, the brain can start to favor the “stronger” eye over the other. Over time, the brain may ignore images from the suppressed eye, increasing the risk of permanent vision loss.
Amblyopia typically develops during early childhood, so it’s crucial to ensure your child has an eye exam while they’re 6 to 12 months old and every year after that.
Amblyopia Affects More than Your Visual Acuity
While vision loss is a significant symptom, amblyopia can cause other issues with your visual skills. If you have uncorrected amblyopia, you may also develop problems with:
- Eye focusing
- Eye teaming
- 3D vision
- Visual-motor integration
- Spatial awareness
How Vision Therapy Can Help
Vision therapy is a personalized treatment plan designed to strengthen the relationship between your eyes and brain. The process is different for each person, but it has proven to be an effective strategy for managing amblyopia, as well as vision problems caused by:
According to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD), the ultimate goal of vision therapy is to improve the visual skills you use every day, support vision comfort, and change how visual information is interpreted.
At Specialty Eye, we work with a passionate in-house vision therapy team and the team at our sister practice The Mind’s Eye Center. This dedicated vision therapy clinic provides personalized treatment programs for children and adults (yes, vision therapy can also treat adults!).
Treating Amblyopia with Vision Therapy
Now that we know what vision therapy is, let’s look at what the process may look like and how it can help address amblyopia.
As we’ve mentioned, vision therapy is a personalized treatment program uniquely designed from the ground up to address issues affecting the relationship between your eyes and brain. For example, the strategies we use to treat amblyopia may differ from the strategies we may use to treat strabismus, so we need to perform a consultation before we provide treatment.
During your consultation, we’ll evaluate your symptoms, diagnose the issue, and determine if vision therapy is the right treatment. You may only need corrective lenses to manage amblyopia in some cases, but we can determine an appropriate strategy when we complete your appointment.
If you need vision therapy, we’ll refer you to The Mind’s Eye Center to provide your treatment. Our doctors will oversee the entire process and work alongside your vision therapy team to help manage your treatment and support your goals (often no eye-patching required).
The Mind’s Eye Center develops its advanced treatments using unique tools and an acute understanding of neuroscience. In most cases, you’ll start your treatment by getting a pair of therapeutic prescription lenses to help reduce competition between both eyes. From here, your treatment may include:
- In-office virtual reality exercises
- Perceptual learning procedures
- Balance boards
- Target exercises using touchscreens
It’s important to understand that vision therapy is different from certain at-home eye exercises you might see on the Internet. Vision therapy is specifically designed to enhance the relationship between your eyes and brain, so each step of the process has to be specifically tailored to your needs.
We will recommend some at-home treatments, but we’ll also provide several in-office treatments guided and supervised by your optometrist and vision therapy team.
How Will I Know Vision Therapy Worked?
Depending on the issue, treatment plans may last weeks, months, or even years. However, you’ll know the treatment is working when you can confidently and comfortably rely on your vision for activities like:
- Playing sports
- Watching presentations
- Playing instruments
- And more…
By strengthening the relationship between your eyes and brain, our goal is to improve your visual skills and provide results that last your entire life. Sometimes, you may need to continue some vision therapy exercises to maintain gains and to help manage certain eye problems, but our team is committed to helping you find solutions that enhance your quality of life.
If you or your child is struggling with amblyopia, please call the team at Specialty Eye today.
We’re ready to support your vision and visual skills with the help of our personalized approach, and all you have to do to get started is book an appointment.