By: Dr. Amber Teten, Optometrist Chesapeake VA
When it comes to vision health, lazy eye or amblyopia is a condition that may affect your child’s eyesight and, if left untreated, can have long-term impacts on their visual development. But the good news is that there is hope in the form of vision therapy, a specialized treatment that can help your child unlock brighter futures by improving their vision and overall quality of life. Dr. Teten, an Optometrist Chesapeake VA, will discuss what lazy eye is and how vision therapy can benefit a child with a lazy eye.
What is Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)?
Lazy eye, or amblyopia, is a common vision disorder typically occurring during early childhood. It is characterized by reduced vision in one eye, often due to the brain favoring the other. This can happen when one eye cannot focus properly due to a refractive error, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, or a misalignment of the eyes, such as strabismus (crossed or turned eye). When one eye is consistently not used as much as the other, the brain may ignore the signals coming from that eye, leading to weakened vision in that eye over time.
A lazy eye can seriously affect a child’s visual development if left untreated. It can result in poor depth perception, reduced visual acuity, and eye teaming and tracking difficulties. These visual deficits can impact a child’s ability to perform everyday tasks such as reading, writing, playing sports, and even navigating their environment. However, a lazy eye can be effectively managed with early diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Vision therapy has emerged as a leading treatment option.
What is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy, also known as vision training or orthoptic therapy, is a specialized treatment program designed to improve and enhance visual function. It is a non-surgical, non-invasive, evidence-based approach that addresses the underlying visual issues affecting a child’s eyesight. At Navigation Eye Care, vision therapy is done under the care of Dr. Teten, an Optometrist Chesapeake, and her vision therapist assistant.
Vision therapy utilizes a variety of techniques and exercises that are tailored to the unique needs of each child. These may include eye exercises, prism lenses, filters, patching, and other visual aids. Vision therapy aims to help the brain and eyes work together more effectively, improving visual acuity, eye coordination, focusing abilities, and other visual skills. A vision therapy program at Navigation Eye Care, lead by Dr. Teten, Optometrist Chesapeake VA, can last anywhere from a couple of months to a year with regular weekly sessions. Along with regular eye exam check ups from Dr. Teten to track your child’s progress.
How Does Vision Therapy Help Children with Lazy Eye?
Vision therapy can be a highly effective treatment for children with lazy eyes. Dr. Teten , Optometrist Chesapeake VA, has effectively treated children with lazy eye by utilizing vision therapy. It works by stimulating and training the weaker eye, helping it to develop better visual skills and integrate with the stronger eye. Here are some ways in which vision therapy can benefit children with lazy eyes:
- Improved Visual Acuity: Vision therapy exercises are designed to stimulate and strengthen the weaker eye’s visual acuity. By using a variety of visual tasks and exercises, vision therapy can help the brain and eyes work together more effectively, resulting in more precise and sharper vision in the affected eye.
- Enhanced Eye Coordination: Amblyopia is often associated with poor eye coordination, affecting a child’s ability to track moving objects or focus on near and far distances. Vision therapy includes exercises that help improve eye teaming and tracking skills, allowing the eyes to work together more efficiently.
- Restored Binocular Vision: Binocular vision refers to the ability of both eyes to work together as a team, allowing for depth perception and three-dimensional vision. In amblyopia, the weaker eye may not fully integrate with the stronger one, leading to poor binocular vision. Vision therapy aims to restore this integration by training the brain and eyes to work harmoniously. This can improve depth perception, eye alignment, and a more balanced visual system.
- Enhanced Visual Skills: Vision therapy goes beyond just improving visual acuity and eye coordination. It also focuses on strengthening other visual skills, such as concentrating abilities, tracking skills, and visual processing speed. These skills are crucial for efficient and effective visual processing, essential for academic success and daily activities. Vision therapy can help children develop these skills, leading to improved reading fluency, attention to detail, and overall visual processing abilities.
- Increased Confidence and Self-esteem: Lazy eye can significantly impact a child’s self-esteem and confidence, especially if it affects their ability to perform well in school or participate in sports and other activities. Vision therapy can help improve a child’s visual skills, allowing them to feel more confident and capable in their daily activities. This increased confidence can translate into improved performance in various aspects of their life, positively impacting their overall well-being.
Vision therapy can offer hope and effective treatment for children with lazy eyes (amblyopia). As discussed by Dr. Teten, Optometrist Chesapeake VA, vision therapy stimulates and trains the weaker eye, leading to improved visual acuity, eye coordination, and other essential visual skills. It aims to restore binocular vision and can positively impact a child’s academic performance, sports activities, and overall quality of life. Understanding what vision therapy is and how it can help children with a lazy eye is crucial for parents and caregivers seeking the best care for their child’s vision health. Remember, early detection and intervention are key, so don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance from Dr. Teten and the team at Navigation Eye Care and explore the benefits of vision therapy for your child’s visual health.
If you have a child that has a lazy eye, your child may benefit from vision therapy. Have your child evaluated by a qualified Optometrist Chesapeake VA specializing in vision therapy to determine how your child could benefit from vision therapy. Dr. Teten encourages parents to bring their children in for regular eye and developmental vision exams to ensure their eyes are healthy and their vision is properly developing. Call the Navigation Eye Care team at 757-529-6889 or schedule an appointment online. We are fully equipped and prepared to care for you and your family.