Amblyopia or lazy eye syndrome is a condition where visual signals are not transmitted properly, through the optic nerve to the brain. The condition occurs in early childhood which subsequently results in dim vision. The lazy eye syndrome normally affects only one of the two eyes, but can affect both eyes.
Lazy Eye in Adults
Lazy eye in adults can manifest in different forms. Though treatment during childhood can help improve the condition, most of the problems associated with lazy eye tend to continue into adulthood. The different types of lazy eye syndromes include,
- Strabismus Amblyopia: This condition is characterized by misalignment of the eyes. In strabismus, one eye tends to have normal vision, while the eye with abnormal vision. The abnormal eye deviates away gradually, as the dominant eye takes control of the vision.
- Refractive Amblyopia: This condition affects individual with unequal refractory error in the two eyes. The difference in refractory error between the two eyes results in domination of the good eye, resulting in deviation of the weaker eye.
- Occlusion Amblyopia: This condition is associated with occlusion due to the ocular media becoming opaque. The condition may be due to a cataract, corneal scarring, drooping eyelids or a hemengioma which obstructs vision
Symptoms of Lazy Eye in Adults
The symptoms associated with lazy eye in adults depend upon the type of amblyopia. However some of the common symptoms associated with the condition include,
- Diplopia or double vision: This symptom is often present in adult onset of strabismus amblyopia, due to inability of the brain to adjust to two different images produced by the two eyes
- Blurring of vision: Though it is rare to observe amblyopia due to refractory errors in adults, occasionally, refractory amblyopia may result in blurred vision
- Cataract or drooping eyelids (ptosis) may also be observed in cases of occlusion amblyopia. In case of corneal scarring, the individual may complain of irritation in the eye, red and blood shot eyes, excessive lacrymation and may occasionally complain of pain
How to Correct Lazy Eye in Adults
Though the primary treatment option for management of lazy eye syndrome is glasses, atropine drops in the eyes or use of patches to prevent the better eye from dominating the vision. However these therapies are effective only till the age of 17 years. After this age the treatment primarily focuses on vision therapy.
Optometric Vision Therapy is a non surgical treatment program which is aimed at improving the visual and motor functions of the eyes. Vision therapy includes the following activities,
- Strengthening the optical muscles to improve motor and cognitive skills
- Working on techniques to ensure both the eyes work together as a team which in turn enhances their alignment and focusing ability
- Visual processing helps in improving perceptive skills in more severe cases.