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Can Amblyopia Be Cured? How to Fix a Lazy Eye

If you’ve followed our blog series on amblyopia, you know that this condition is common and most often develops in children, but it can also develop in adults.

Some fast facts about amblyopia include:

  • Amblyopia is a condition where one eye is weaker than the other. The eyes both have pathways connecting them to the brain. If one of the pathways is weakened or dysfunctional, the associated eye will not function as well as the other.
  • Amblyopia is often called “lazy eye.” The weaker eye does not send or receive signals to and from the brain, or it doesn’t send as strong of a signal as the other eye.
  • Amblyopia causes poor vision or a loss of vision in the weaker eye. The brain will begin ignoring any signals it receives from the weaker eye, leading to either blurriness or total vision loss in the weak eye.
  • Amblyopia is not uncommon. Roughly 3% of children and adults in the US—about 10 million people—have lazy eyes.
  • Amblyopia mainly develops in early childhood, but it can develop in adulthood, too. Damage to the retina or an interruption to the visual pathway can occur as an adult, resulting in the development of a lazy eye.
  • Some people are more likely to develop amblyopia than others. Those born prematurely, have amblyopia in their family history, have delayed development in childhood, or are born with a low birth weight have an increased risk of developing amblyopia.
  • Amblyopia can also develop from other conditions. If a person has certain refractive issues, uncorrected strabismus, an untreated cataract, trauma to the eye, ptosis (a drooping eyelid), or other obstructive issues with an eye, they could develop amblyopia.
  • Amblyopia is hard to detect without testing, especially in children. It’s hard to see amblyopia in a child because there are hardly any physical signs. Some side effects you can look out for include:
    • Excessive squinting
    • Excessive eye rubbing
    • Bad hand-eye coordination
    • Bad depth perception
    • Being prone to injury or accidents
    • Focusing difficulties
    • Reading difficulties
    • Possible eye misalignment
  • Amblyopia is diagnosed in the eye doctor’s office with thorough eye exams. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist can diagnose amblyopia following a series of acuity and ocular health tests.

Can Amblyopia Be Cured? Can I Correct a Lazy Eye?

If you think you or your child has a lazy eye, there are corrective measures you can take to improve or even fully correct the issue.

How to Correct Amblyopia in Children

The three leading corrective solutions for children include eye patches, special eyewear, and eye drops. Children with certain types of amblyopia may also be candidates for surgery.

Eye Patches for Amblyopia

Eye patches are a common solution for children experiencing amblyopia. It’s important to strengthen the connection between the patient’s brain and their weaker eye. This is most often achieved by patching the stronger eye and forcing the brain to rely on the weaker eye. The more the brain relies on the weaker eye, the stronger that connection will become. The goal is for the connection to match that of the brain and the strong eye.

Eye patches can look like circular band-aids and adhere to the skin surrounding the stronger eye. Usually, children wear their patches for several hours every day, ideally six hours a day. Be sure not to patch for too many hours each day, though, as too much patching can inadvertently weaken the stronger eye.

The duration of patching can vary, but it can be recommended for weeks, months, or even years.

Special Eyewear

There are special eyeglasses a child can wear that feature a blurred lens in front of the stronger eye. Much like patching, these glasses force the weaker eye to work harder and build up that connection with the brain. These glasses may be worn for weeks, months, or even years. There’s no set timeframe; treatment is required until vision improves, which can vary, timewise, from patient to patient.

Eye Drops

Like the other two treatment options, eye drops work to temporarily weaken the stronger eye so that the weaker eye can grow stronger. Eye drops are applied to the stronger eye and blur its vision for some time, giving the weaker eye a chance to build its connection with the brain.

It’s recommended that treatment for amblyopia begin before the age of five, as the connections between the brain and eyes are still developing, and it’s easier to strengthen a weak connection at those ages. However, treatment can still be successful and effective up to age 10. If amblyopia is left untreated past the age of 10, the ocular system is typically fully developed and more difficult to reshape and strengthen.

However, certain clinical trials have shown that these treatments for amblyopia are still effective up to the age of 17.


There are surgical options that can be performed for children with certain types of amblyopia.

Cataract surgery – cataract surgery is a possibility if your child’s amblyopia is caused by the formation of a cataract in one eye. Cataracts in children are rare, but they can be treated.

Strabismus surgery – In many cases of strabismus, amblyopia is a side effect. If your child also suffers from strabismus (a misalignment of the eyes) and nonsurgical solutions don’t help, your child’s ophthalmologist can perform surgery to correct the eye muscles and straighten them out, giving your child a chance to strengthen their weaker eye’s connection with the brain.

How to Correct Amblyopia in Adults

Patching, eye drops, special eyewear, and surgery* are not that effective for adults with amblyopia. However, there are options like vision therapy.

Vision Therapy

Under the supervision of your eye doctor, you can undergo vision therapy to help strengthen your weaker eye’s connection with your brain and improve your ocular health and vision. Therapy sessions often last 30-45 minutes and take place once a week. Plus, you’ll have exercises to practice at home to help build those connections. It’s hard to determine how long therapy should last; you should attend sessions until you have reached peak improvement.

*Adults can undergo strabismus surgery to realign the eyes. However, this surgery is not effective in correcting amblyopia that may have developed due to the strabismus.

Are you concerned about amblyopia in yourself or your child? Schedule an eye exam with Vision Eye Group.

Amblyopia can be a sneaky but serious issue for you or your child. If left untreated, it can lead to life-long vision issues. Don’t let conditions go unnoticed—schedule an eye exam with our team today. Our optometrists and ophthalmologists conduct thorough eye exams to catch any underlying vision issues early and correct them as soon as possible.

We invite you to schedule an appointment with our team today: 478-744-1710

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