Were you ever told your child with lazy eye is too old to have his or her vision improved? If the answer is yes, then someone was either giving you false information or was just not willing to give you enough of their time to really give you the help you deserve!
The reason why such information is circulating is based in outdated studies that negate the ability to improve visual function after the age of 10. These studies originate from the middle of 90s when neurologist Sue Barry conducted a research in which strabismus, lazy eye and other visual problems were declared as developmental problems that cannot be improved later in life if we miss the early developmental stages of child’s life. Interestingly enough – these findings were derived from studying TWO CATS with unaligned eyes. Neither of the cats developed depth perception, but many scientists believe that cats never develop stereo vision or depth perception!
In case of amblyopia or lazy eye one eye has better visual acuity than the other. On top of that, problems with depth perception may occur. Often kids who are diagnosed with lazy eye are reporting troubles with throwing and catching objects, are generally clumsier or are tripping over objects. Many doctors were giving out information to parents of such kids that there is no chance for their improvement based on the “cat study”!
Latest studies have found completely the opposite! Scientists found that problems with lazy eye, strabismus, convergence insufficiency etc. are neurological first and foremost! As such, they can be tackled even later on: the brain is one of the most adaptable body parts and can be retrained and rewired with right approach, correct stimuli and regular exercises. With these exercises we can teach the brain how to operate both eyes together and create a clear binocular vision!
With these new findings in mind, many specialists started using vision therapy to address these issues. Together with good refraction, regular vision therapy exercises with either an eye patch or glasses with colored filters can provide great results!
Because the vision therapy exercises are often quite dull, a lot of attention is lately given to the gamification of vision therapy: an approach where kids train their vision through engaging games and exercises. It was shown what vision therapy really can offer great results, but it all depends on how consistent we are with going through daily vision therapy routine.
We will touch more this aspect in our next blog, but for now – we are looking forward to receiving your feedback and contributions at [email protected]!