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Don’t Let Time Blur Your Vision: When is it Too Late to Treat Lazy Eye?


8 min


When is it too late to treat Lazy eye?

Do you have a lazy eye but believe it’s too late to seek treatment? While many people assume that treatment for lazy eye is only effective during childhood, many research reveals that it’s never too late to improve treat lazy eye. Cutting-edge advancements in the field of optometry have opened new doors for adults struggling with this condition.

So, if you thought it was too late to treat your lazy eye, think again – there’s still hope for clearer vision and improved quality of life. This article explores the question “When is it too late to treat lazy eye?” and provides you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

Human Vision Development

Humans are born with very poorly developed vision, which is very strongly influenced by visual input from the eyes in early life. In other words, the balanced input from the two eyes instructs proper development of parts of brain responsible for sight, hence vision.

What is Lazy Eye?

Firstly, let’s briefly understand the nature of lazy eye or amblyopia. It typically occurs during childhood when one eye doesn’t develop properly, leading the brain to favor the other eye. It typically arises in children within the critical period for the development of vision. This is, by definition, the first eight years of one’s life.

Causes of Lazy Eye

If, for whatever reason, the visual input from the two eyes is unbalanced or diminished, amblyopia ensues. The condition arises due to a lack of visual stimulation during early childhood, often resulting from a:

  • Misalignment of the eyes (strabismus) or
  • Significant difference in refractive errors between the two eyes.

Early Signs of Lazy Eye

Symptoms of lazy eye, commonly known as lazy eye, may include:

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  • Squinting or closing one eye: Children may squint or close one eye to see better, especially when focusing on objects or reading.
  • Poor depth perception: Difficulty judging distances or bumping into objects may indicate reduced vision in one eye.
  • Tilting or turning the head: Children may tilt or turn their head to use their stronger eye, compensating for the weaker one.
  • Favoring one eye: If a child consistently prefers to use one eye over the other, it could signal a vision imbalance.
  • Strabismus: Misaligned eyes, where one eye may appear to wander inward, outward, upward, or downward, can be a sign of amblyopia.

The Critical Period

The critical period in visual development is a crucial phase during which the brain’s visual system is particularly receptive to environmental stimuli.During this time, sensory experiences play a vital role in shaping the neural circuits responsible for visual processing.

Stimuli such as patterns, colors, and shapes help refine the connections between neurons, laying the foundation for visual perception throughout life. If adequate stimulation does not occur during this critical period, it can lead to permanent deficits in visual function.

Critical Period and Amblyopia

The critical period in visual development is closely linked to the development of amblyopia. During early childhood, if one eye experiences significantly blurred or impaired vision due to conditions like strabismus (misalignment of the eyes) or significant refractive error (such as nearsightedness or farsightedness), the brain may suppress the visual input from that eye to avoid confusion and maintain visual clarity.

During the critical period of visual development, the brain fails to process the signals from the affected eye adequately. This leads to the suppression of its visual input. There are different types of amblyopia.

How do you see with the lazy eye

Can Lazy Eye be Treated in Adults?

Early diagnosis and treatment of amblyopia in childhood yield the best results. The brain’s plasticity during this crucial stage allows for effective interventions. The optimal period for amblyopia treatment lies within early childhood, ideally before the age of 8-10 years.

During this stage, the visual system is most receptive to intervention, and significant improvements in visual acuity can be achieved. However, it is essential to note that treatment effectiveness can vary. It depends on the severity of amblyopia, compliance with therapy, and individual factors.

Yes, lazy eye can be treated in adults, although it can be more challenging than treating it in children. The primary goal of treatment is to strengthen the weaker eye and improve its vision.

When to Initiate Treatment for Lazy Eye?

Amblyopia is generally treated as soon as it is diagnosed, or at least it should be. Studies show that the sooner the treatment is initiated the better the outcome.

In certain cases, though, amblyopia itself cannot be addressed before the cause is removed, as for instance in cases of congenital cataract.

Indeed, any form of visual deprivation in early infancy usually results in very deep amblyopia that does not respond well to treatment unless the cause is removed in the first couple of months in one’s life.

In terms of age, then, if amblyopia treatment is initiated before the age of 8-10 years, a favorable outcome can be expected (apart from some severe individual cases). That said, there are reports that show that certain improvements can be possible even beyond the critical period for the development of vision and well into adulthood.

”Reports show that certain improvements can be possible even beyond the critical period.”

What Age is Too late to Treat Amblyopia?

It’s never too late! While it is preferable to initiate treatment during childhood, it is not necessarily “too late” to treat amblyopia in adulthood. The critical period for visual development may have passed, and the effectiveness of treatment might be diminished, but visual improvements can still be attained.

How to Treat Lazy Eye

Several treatment options can be considered for adults with amblyopia:

Vision Therapy

This comprehensive approach involves various therapeutic exercises and activities designed to improve visual function and coordination.

Vision therapy aims to retrain the brain and improve the connection between the affected eye and the visual system. Furthermore, it has been found as one of the most successful methods of treating amblyopia because it actively engages the visual system.


In cases where strabismus is the primary cause of amblyopia, surgical correction of the eye misalignment may be recommended. This procedure can help realign the eyes and improve the visual input to the brain.

Prism Glasses

Prism lenses can be prescribed to help align the eyes and reduce the suppression of the amblyopic eye. These specialized glasses can aid in achieving binocular vision and better visual integration.

What Happens If You Don’t Treat Lazy Eye?

Will Lazy Eye in Adults Correct Itself?

Whether your amblyopia went undetected during childhood, or you acquired the condition in adulthood, the consequences of neglecting treatment for a lazy eye persist. If left untreated, it can lead to strabismus, problems with central vision, and blindness. Therefore, seek help as soon as you detect vision problems and right after you are diagnosed with amblyopia.

Can AmblyoPlay Treat Amblyopia in Adults?

Yes, it can. It is already being used by numerous adult patients. 30% of all our users are adults who are seeing great improvements from our home-based vision therapy. The methods that work for kids work just the same for adults, they only take a little longer.

On average, adult patients use AmblyoPlay for at least 12 months, which offers enough time both to achieve results, as well as to stabilize vision so that the problem won’t come back after stopping the treatment! Read the story about the 80-years-old user Dan.

Discover Stories of Adults that used AmblyoPlay

Grayslake, IL

80-years old user Dan

I have been very impressed with the design and implementation of AmblyoPlay. The navigation of the app is very intuitive. Even the music is appropriate, light-hearted, and pleasant.

While as an 80-year-old man, I am not an ideal candidate to benefit from AmblyoPlay, I have seen moderate improvement in my double vision that resulted from a surgical error during a cataract operation.

The response to questions and comments has been prompt and helpful. As a former software engineer, I really appreciate the professionalism of the organization that developed AmblyoPlay.

Lakewood, OH

Dave: ”I was skeptical…”

As a middle-aged man who had been told since childhood that there was basically nothing that could be done to help with my “lazy eye,” I was skeptical. Especially after constantly being told that this was even more so the case the older I get.

That being said, I wanted to give this a chance because anything that gave me some hope was worth the opportunity.

I wasn’t expecting drastic results considering my age. I knew that if this was going to have any effect, it was going to take some time. So, I definitely think I have a long way to go to truly be where I want things to be, but I have l, without question, noticed a difference and this product is the first thing in nearly 40 years to do that for me! Highly recommend anyone, of any age, give this a shot and at least see if it can help them.

vision therapy for adults at home

Conclusion: When is it Too Late To Treat Lazy Eye and Amblyopia Treatment for Adults

To sum up, treat amblyopia as soon as it is diagnosed. Do not give up on treatment even if you have missed the time period most guidelines define as best. When is it too late then? Although the optimal period for treating amblyopia lies within early childhood, it is never too late to pursue treatment options. While the potential for visual improvement decreases with age, adults with amblyopia can still benefit from various interventions.

As long as there is improvement with treatment, it is never too late, regardless of age. Indeed, there is an increasing number of success stories by patients in their 60s and 70s who are investing their time in vision therapy! It is crucial to consult with an eye care professional to determine the most suitable treatment plan based on your individual circumstances.

So, never give up trying! Remember, seeking treatment for amblyopia at any age can lead to improved visual.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is it too late to treat lazy eye?

No. It’s never too late. While it is preferable to initiate treatment during childhood, it is not necessarily “too late” to treat amblyopia in adulthood.

What happens if I do not treat lazy eye?

If left untreated, it can lead to strabismus, problems with central vision, and blindness. Therefore, seek help as soon as you detect a vision problem and right after you are diagnosed with amblyopia.

Does AmblyoPlay work for adults?

Yes! AmblyoPlay works for adults just the same as it does for kids. The only difference is that the speed of improvements diminishes with age. This has to do with a process called brain plasticity, which means that the brain starts to get slower in rebuilding neurological connections as we age. However, over 25 % of all our users are adults, some of them even in their 50s and 60s!

Can lazy eye happen later in life?

Lazy eyes commonly develop in children. However, in some cases, conditions such as head trauma or eye injury can lead to the development of lazy eyes later in life.

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Why Do We Suggest a Minimum Time of 6 Months for Success?

Based on the data from over 15,000 patients using AmblyoPlay, improvements start within 4 months, while optimal results take anywhere between 6-18 months on average. The duration of required training depends on the patient’s age, the severity of the problem, accompanying diseases, and adherence to the training program.

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