Lazy eye is a chronic condition that is associated with abnormal development in the visual center of the brain. Hence lazy eye does not just affect the eye sight (visual acuity) of one eye, but in fact it is a binocular vision problem affecting depth perception, eye focusing and eye teaming abilities. In some cases, eye tracking, how fast and accurate one can read or follow a moving target (a ball) may be affected too.
According to Dr. R.F. Hess, PhD, DSc, Professor and Director of Research for the Department of Ophthalmology at McGill University: “ The current approach [using an eye patch to manage lazy eye] …is problematic …it promotes recovery of monocular vision but because it is not designed to promote binocularity, its binocular outcomes often are disappointing.” Without binocular, motor development and eye hand coordination may be delayed. Furthermore, once you stop patching, then there is a risk that the eye sight may regress.
You may have seen news reports of video games such as Tetris and Dig Rush that Dr. Hess is developing. These games promote binocular vision development and early data is showing that it can help both children and adults achieve faster and longer lasting results. Similar video games and 3D activities books using red/blue, red/green or polarized glasses have been used in vision therapy for the last 80 years. There are a large variety of training games available to spark interest and stimulation for all ages, from toddler to adults.
If you have tried patching previously, and did not get good results, you may be a good candidate for binocular vision training. Further, any patients that have been recently diagnosed with lazy eye and want to ensure long lasting and good results, vision therapy should be considered. As with any form of therapy, whether it is physical, occupational or speech therapy, a variety of progressive exercises is key to successful treatment. A combination of both in-office and customized home vision therapy will help you achieve you goal to better vision.