The most effective way to treat amblyopia is through eye patching.
Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, is the loss or lack of the full development of vision in one eye. This serious condition results in one eye not being used as much as the other.
If amblyopia is diagnosed in a young child, it must be treated promptly or the brain will eventually start to ignore the affected eye altogether, and permanent vision loss will occur. The best time to correct amblyopia is during infancy or early childhood. After the first nine years of life, the visual system is usually fully developed and cannot be changed.
The most effective way to treat amblyopia is through eye patching. Typically, this involves placing an eye patch on the good eye. By blocking vision to the good eye, this forces the child to use the amblyopic eye. Ultimately, this helps retrain the brain to use the weaker eye and allow vision to develop normally.
What if my child is resistant to eye patching?
The child or infant may be resistant to eye patching at first because their stronger eye is being covered, and it can be difficult for the child to adjust. This usually is a temporary effect:
- As vision improves after the first weeks of eye patching, the child should accept the patch willingly
- We encourage parents to be firm about using the patch
- Give the child special attention during patch time, and encourage visually stimulating tasks such as drawing or coloring during the eye patching period
Will eye patching cause the good eye to get weaker?
Eye patching should only improve the vision in the lazy eye. However, in some cases, it can reduce vision in the good eye. Therefore, the vision in each eye must be verified regularly by a pediatric eye examination in the office.
It is important that patients faithfully follow the eye patching instructions and attend scheduled office examinations.
At Henry Ford, patients come first.
The Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology is committed to providing our patients with compassionate, personalized care. We feature the most advanced treatments in eye care and are dedicated to vision research – always staying at the forefront of innovation. A leader in Michigan, as well as one of the largest ophthalmology practices in the United States, we treat more than 55,000 patients per year at 12 locations throughout southeast Michigan. In addition, our team works closely with Henry Ford Medical Group physicians in other departments, providing multidisciplinary, coordinated care for those patients who need it.