Skip to main content
Book a Vision Therapy Appointment at Irvine
Advanced Eyecare Optometric Center in Irvine and Dana Point, California
Advanced Eyecare Optometric Center in Irvine and Dana Point, California
Call Irvine
Book VT Online
Open Menu
Close Menu
Menu

vt_conditions

down syndrome

Home »

Down Syndrome and Vision

Down syndrome (DS) is a genetic disorder caused by a duplication of all or part of chromosome 21, making three copies of the chromosome rather than the usual two. This extra chromosome causes certain intellectual, developmental and physical changes in persons with Down syndrome.

The frequency of Down syndrome is approximately 1 in every 800 births, making it one of the most common chromosomal abnormalities. Thanks to improved medical care, people with Down syndrome are leading longer and healthier lives.

More than 60% of children with Down syndrome (DS) have vision problems, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Most need to wear eyeglasses. Often, their optical prescriptions are in the higher range, meaning that specific frames and lenses are required.

It is important to note that people with Down syndrome are more likely to have a range of problems with their eyesight, so even if they wear glasses, they may not achieve 20/20 vision, which is considered the standard of perfect sight.

Eye Exams in Those With Down Syndrome

Down syndrome can affect the eyes’ development, which in turn affects vision. More than 50% of people with Down syndrome have some sort of eye disease ranging from minor tear duct abnormalities to vision-threatening early-onset cataracts.

Children and adults with DS should have regular eye checks. The UK Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group suggests the following basic minimum eye checks for babies and children with Down syndrome:

  • Birth to 6 weeks – Newborn routine examination including a congenital cataract check
  • Age 18 to 24 months – Formal eye and vision examination including a check for eye turns, myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Age 4 years – Formal eye and vision examination including check for squint, as well as an assessment for myopia, hyperopia and visual acuity
  • School age – Repeat vision test every 2 years, or more frequently if recommended by optometrist or ophthalmologist
  • Teenagers and adults should have a full assessment by an optometrist or ophthalmologist at least every 2 years or more frequently as advised.

Down Syndrome and Eyeglasses

Because individuals with Down syndrome usually have small noses, shortened depth from the eye socket to the ear and close-set eyes with wide faces, typical glasses slide down, fall forward and bow out at the temples.

For these reasons and others, it’s difficult for them to find frames that fit.

There are now a range of optical frames designed for people with DS that allow the bridge to be adjusted. The temples are modified to keep the glasses from constantly slipping.

Optical lenses often used for DS patients include transition, high index and bifocal designs.

Accommodation (focusing) is reduced in approximately 75% of children with Down syndrome. Bifocals have been shown to be beneficial for these children, and they are prescribed regularly.

Down Syndrome and Vision Problems

Individuals with Down syndrome are at increased risk for a variety of eye and vision disorders. Fortunately, many of these eye problems can be treated, especially if discovered at an early age. Their quality of life can be further enhanced by the proper assessment and correction of eye problems. The most common eye findings include:

  • Refractive errors – Children with Down syndrome are more likely to need glasses than other children. This may be due to myopia, hyperopia and/or astigmatism. Refractive error may develop early in life or later on.
  • Strabismus and Amblyopia – Between 20% and 60% of individuals with Down syndrome have a lazy eye (amblyopia) or eyes that are misaligned (strabismus). Esotropia (eyes that drift in) is most common, while exotropia (eyes that drift out) occurs less frequently. Amblyopia and strabismus may be treated with glasses, patching, vision therapy and/or eye muscle surgery.
  • Keratoconus – A cone-shaped distortion of the cornea (front layer of the eye), occurs in up to 30% of those with Down syndrome. Keratoconus is usually diagnosed around puberty and should be monitored regularly. Blurred vision, corneal thinning, or corneal haze may result from keratoconus. Keratoconus is worsened by eye rubbing; therefore, eye rubbing should be discouraged and its causes (allergies, dry eye) treated.
  • Cataracts – There is an increased incidence of congenital cataracts (present at birth) as well as acquired cataracts. The cataracts may progress slowly and should be monitored regularly, with surgical treatment performed when appropriate.
  • Glaucoma- There is an increased risk of infantile glaucoma, elevated pressure within the eye.
  • Blepharitis – Inflammation of the eyelids with redness at the edge of the lids and crusting around the lashes may occur and cause a feeling of dryness or burning. This is managed well with topical steroids and antibiotics.
  • Tearing – Excessive tears or watering of the eyes may occur because the drainage channels are blocked or narrow (nasolacrimal duct obstruction). This may require surgical intervention.
  • Nystagmus – This is an involuntary “back-and-forth” movement or shaking of the eyes. It can affect vision to a mild or severe degree.

Down Syndrome and Strabismus

Strabismus (eye misalignment) is also more common in DS than in the general population. Family members may notice that the eyes do not line up well with each other, but often the strabismus is subtle. The folds of skin between the eyes and the nose can also cover up the underlying strabismus, or make the eyes appear as if they are crossing even if they are not. It is important to diagnose strabismus in a child, as crossed eyes can lead to amblyopia (also known as lazy eye) and loss of stereopsis (3D vision) or depth perception.

Sometimes, glasses alone are enough to straighten eyes with strabismus. If the eyes continue to be misaligned, despite the correct pair of eyeglasses, then vision therapy or even eye muscle surgery may be required. In the event eye surgery is required, patients with Down syndrome are more likely to require more than one surgery to align their eyes, as they don’t always respond as predictably to strabismus surgery as the general population.

Down Syndrome and Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens inside the eye. If cataracts are present from a very young age, a clear image is not delivered to the child’s brain, so unless the cataracts are surgically removed, the brain will never “learn” to see properly. This can cause a severe form of amblyopia known as deprivational amblyopia.

Cataracts that are present very early in a child’s life can result in lifelong poor vision. For this reason, early detection and surgery are essential.

little girl walking during sunsetSigns of Vision Problems

Unfortunately, children with Down Syndrome often do not complain about their eye problems, either because they don’t notice the problem or because they have difficulty communicating what is wrong.

Signs of vision problems can include:

  • Squinting
  • Closing one eye shut
  • Unusual head tilt
  • Crossing or wandering of one or both eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Ptosis (eyelid droop)
  • Tearing or discharge (blocked tear duct)

In some severe cases, regression in overall function or loss of developmental milestones may be a sign of vision problems.

For children with Down syndrome, regular eye exams by an eye doctor are especially important because eye disorders are so common and are often difficult for a pediatrician to diagnose. Because the examination can be difficult for both the child and the doctor, it is best to have the examination done by an eye doctor skilled in dealing with children with developmental delays.

Vision Therapy for Down Syndrome

Vision therapy is often recommended for Down syndrome as there is a high incidence of functional vision difficulties as well as amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (eye turn).

Eye doctors can offer a fully personalized vision therapy program designed to enhance the child’s visual skills by incorporating tasks that are appropriate to the child’s level of ability.

Vision therapy sessions will enhance the following visual skills:

  • Eye alignment
  • Eye teaming
  • Eye focusing
  • Eye movements
  • Visual processing

Don’t be surprised to find out your child needs glasses; glasses will help their vision, and possibly their eye alignment, as well as the development of normal vision pathways in the brain. This will help with your child’s learning and functioning.

Vision is our dominant or primary sense, and optometric vision therapy is a leading form of sensory integration therapy. The resulting improvements in visual developmental skills can have a significant impact on many other behaviors and/or developmental or life skills that might enhance your child’s overall functioning and quality of life.

Contact Dr. Steven Wang at Advanced Eyecare Vision Therapy Center who will evaluate your child’s vision and will provide a customized vision therapy program suited to his or her unique needs.

Our practice serves patients from Irvine, Dana Point, Lake Forest, and Newport Beach, California and surrounding communities.
Learn More About Vision Therapy
Symptoms Indicating A Visual Efficiency Problem Thumbnail.jpg

Symptoms Indicating A Visual Efficiency Problem

What Conditions Can Vision Therapy Help Treat Thumbnail.jpg

What Conditions Can Vision Therapy Help Treat?

Thumbnail Kids.jpg

Vision Therapy Blog

Vision Therapy Can Improve Reading Skills In Children Thumbnail.jpg

Vision Therapy For Improved Reading Skills In Children

Exercises and Tools Used In Vision Therapy Thumbnail.jpg

Exercises and Tools Used In Vision Therapy

Read Our Latest Posts
10 of Children Have Undetected Vision Problems 640×350 1.jpg

10% of Children Have Undetected Vision Problems

Does Your Child Have 20 20 Vision 640×350 1.jpg

Does Your Child Have 20/20 Vision Yet Still Struggles In School?

crayons coloring.jpg

Fun Home-Based Activities to Strengthen Your Child’s Vision

toddler reading book 1257105 1.jpg

Treating Your Non-Reader With Vision Therapy

Convergence Insufficiency

Home »

Vision Therapy for Convergence Insufficiency

Research shows that Convergence Insufficiency (CI) can affect up to 15% of all school-age children — that’s approximately 1 in 6 children!

CI refers to a decreased ability to bring the eyes inwards and comfortably maintain this focus over long periods of time. The inwards positioning of the eyes is required to read books, do homework and look at a computer screen. As you can imagine, having CI could significantly impact a student’s learning ability, attention levels and overall school performance.

Convergence Insufficiency can also result in blurred or double vision, a halo effect around words or objects or words appear to be ‘floating’ on a page.

This condition not only negatively impacts a child’s school grades but can also affect their emotional wellbeing, as frequent and repeated failures can cause their self-esteem and confidence levels to plummet.

CI cannot be corrected with eyeglasses or surgery. However, vision therapy has been proven to improve the eye’s coordination abilities and alleviate discomfort when reading, doing homework or any other activities involving the visual system.

If you suspect that you or your child may have convergence insufficiency, contact Dr. Steven Wang at the Advanced Eyecare Vision Therapy Center today. We can help.

Could My Child Have Convergence Insufficiency?

As you may derive from the list below, a child’s academic performance could be significantly impacted if they experience any of the following symptoms.

reading book (1)Students with convergence insufficiency may experience any, or several, of the following symptoms:

  • Reading below grade level
  • Not achieving to potential at school
  • Dislikes doing homework
  • Attention issues
  • Headaches
  • Double vision
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Tired when reading
  • Difficulties with concentrating
  • Often losing your place when reading
  • Words appear to move, jump, or float on the page
  • Motion sickness or vertigo

How Can Vision Therapy Help?

It’s important to understand that the eye muscles are actually healthy in those with CI. The issue is the brain’s ability to control and coordinate the way both eyes work together. When the brain and eye interaction functions effectively, it enables us to easily read words on the board, in a book, catch a ball and maintain focus throughout the day.

Vision therapy for CI trains the brain to better control and coordinate both eyes in order to increase the child’s ability to maintain clear and comfortable focus. As the brain-eye teamwork improves, the symptoms listed above are slowly alleviated. Vision therapists can also work on convergence insufficiency treatment methods to potentially recover depth perception and 3D stereo vision.

A functional eye exam will determine whether you or your child have convergence insufficiency, and if so, Dr. Steven Wang will provide vision therapy treatment to correct it.

Is Vision Therapy Effective in Adults and Children Alike?

boys using laptop (1)Vision therapy treatment is most effective in childhood since the rapidly developing brain is easily trained to make permanent changes. That said, convergence insufficiency treatment for adults is still very effective but may take a bit longer to experience results, thus requiring a little more patience.

The Vision Therapy Process

A developmental optometrist and vision therapist will tailor a vision therapy plan according to the severity of the convergence problem. The [eye doctor] and vision therapist will then guide you and monitor your progress to determine what changes or adaptations need to be made throughout your customized program.

Convergence insufficiency treatment exercises may use specialized equipment and tools such as prisms, lenses and computerized technology, to stimulate the brain to better control the two eyes simultaneously.

Results depend on your active participation and compliance with the program, whether in-office or at home. Overtime, the more you train your brain, the easier and more automated the exercises will become. Gains can be experienced from as little as a few weeks to six months or more.

We encourage you to schedule a meeting with Advanced Eyecare Vision Therapy Center at the first sign of convergence insufficiency in your child. At Advanced Eyecare Vision Therapy Center, we will be happy to help your child achieve the best opportunity to improve their reading and learning and improve their overall school performance.

Our practice serves patients from Irvine, Dana Point, Lake Forest, and Newport Beach, California and surrounding communities.
Learn More About Vision Therapy
Symptoms Indicating A Visual Efficiency Problem Thumbnail.jpg

Symptoms Indicating A Visual Efficiency Problem

What Conditions Can Vision Therapy Help Treat Thumbnail.jpg

What Conditions Can Vision Therapy Help Treat?

Thumbnail Kids.jpg

Vision Therapy Blog

Vision Therapy Can Improve Reading Skills In Children Thumbnail.jpg

Vision Therapy For Improved Reading Skills In Children

Exercises and Tools Used In Vision Therapy Thumbnail.jpg

Exercises and Tools Used In Vision Therapy

Read Our Latest Posts
10 of Children Have Undetected Vision Problems 640×350 1.jpg

10% of Children Have Undetected Vision Problems

Does Your Child Have 20 20 Vision 640×350 1.jpg

Does Your Child Have 20/20 Vision Yet Still Struggles In School?

crayons coloring.jpg

Fun Home-Based Activities to Strengthen Your Child’s Vision

toddler reading book 1257105 1.jpg

Treating Your Non-Reader With Vision Therapy

strabismus

Home »

Vision Therapy for Strabismus

Strabismus is a common visual problem among children, affecting up to 3% — that is, 1 out of every 30-40 children.

Strabismus, also known as an “eye turn” or “cross-eye”, is a condition characterized by the improper alignment of the eyes. One of the eyes may look straight ahead, while the other eye turns inward, outward, upward, or downward. The eye turn may be permanent, or may only occur occasionally. At times, the straight and misaligned eye may even alternate positions.

The eye turn is usually noticed in the first few years of the child’s life, but It can also occur later in life, particularly as a result of a traumatic brain injury or a neurological incident.

The misalignment of the eyes in a strabismic patient means that the eyes may be unable to work together to provide the brain with accurate binocular visual information. This can result in blurry vision or double vision, overlapping images and difficulty with depth perception.

A functional eye exam at Advanced Eyecare Vision Therapy Center will detect whether your child is suffering from strabismus, and if so, Dr. Steven Wang will prescribe the optimal vision therapy treatment to correct it.

Vision Therapy Treatment for Strabismus

beautiful baby with blue eyesVision therapy is an advanced and effective treatment regimen for strabismus. The goal of vision therapy is to teach the brain and eyes to work together to correct the eye misalignment and thus achieve clear and comfortable vision. Vision therapy can also strengthen neuro-visual processing to further alleviate challenges caused by the eye turn.

Vision therapy strengthens the child’s visual skills, resulting in improved reading abilities, clearer focus, better balance, improved coordination and more accurate depth perception. The team at Advanced Eyecare Vision Therapy Center has extensive experience in helping children and adults with strabismus see clearly and comfortably.

What are the Signs of Strabismus?

Parents or teachers often cannot detect an eye turn in the child, as it is rarely perceptible to the naked eye. Children can also struggle to identify the signs of strabismus, particularly if they are young. The best way to diagnose this condition is to undergo a functional vision exam as soon as you suspect a vision problem in your child.

A child with strabismus may show any of the following:

  • Eyes that don’t simultaneously look in the same direction
  • One or both eyes crossing or turning inward
  • One or both eyes turning outward
  • Eyes that don’t move in tandem
  • Squinting or closing one eye
  • Tilting or turning the head to look at an object
  • Bumping into objects, difficulty picking up small items, or any other issues with depth perception
  • Reversing letters (b, d, p and q and the numbers 2, 5, 6 and 9)
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and dizziness (vertigo)

Can Adults With Strabismus Be Helped With Vision Therapy?

There are certain advantages and disadvantages to adult strabismus vision therapy. It may require more time to retrain an adult visual system that has been adapting to the eye turn for several years. On the other hand, adults tend to have more discipline and motivation than children, and thus tend to follow the vision therapy program more diligently and fastidiously.

However, during infancy and childhood, the development of the visual systems is highly active, and therefore providing vision therapy during that period increases the chances of permanent vision correction.

baby boy hat coveredThe Vision Therapy Process for Strabismus

Prior to starting any type of treatment, the optometrist will provide you or your child with a comprehensive eye exam. This involves an in-depth examination of the vision, visual skills and general eye health.

We will inquire into the family’s medical history, medications, or any other relevant information. These questions are important as they can affect a patient’s visual skills and development.

Following the comprehensive eye exam, the eye doctor will determine the right course of action.

The goal of the vision therapy program is to ensure the eyes learn to work together (binocular vision). Created and supervised by the optometrist, the personalized vision therapy program will include any or all of the following exercises:

  • Eye teaming and tracking
  • Binocular vision
  • Convergence exercises
  • Focus shifting
  • Eye patching
  • Gaze maintenance

How Soon Will I See Results?

The benefits of a vision therapy program may be seen within a few weeks, but it can take up to six months to recognize significant results. Of course, this depends on each patient and their particular therapy regimen. In addition to the exercises, visual aids, or eyeglasses, the vision therapy plan will include monitoring and follow-up appointments throughout the course of the program. The number of visits required to ensure the best results will be determined by Dr. Steven Wang.

The optometrist will provide you with detailed instructions and a regimen of patches, and exercises, to ensure the most positive outcome. For optimal results, exercises and learned visual skills must be performed regularly.

If you want to treat your or your child’s strabismus, contact Advanced Eyecare Vision Therapy Center today. Our goal is to help our patients with strabismus maximize their visual skills and give them the best opportunity to reach their full potential.

Our practice serves patients from Irvine, Dana Point, Lake Forest, and Newport Beach, California and surrounding communities.
Learn More About Vision Therapy
Symptoms Indicating A Visual Efficiency Problem Thumbnail.jpg

Symptoms Indicating A Visual Efficiency Problem

What Conditions Can Vision Therapy Help Treat Thumbnail.jpg

What Conditions Can Vision Therapy Help Treat?

Thumbnail Kids.jpg

Vision Therapy Blog

Vision Therapy Can Improve Reading Skills In Children Thumbnail.jpg

Vision Therapy For Improved Reading Skills In Children

Exercises and Tools Used In Vision Therapy Thumbnail.jpg

Exercises and Tools Used In Vision Therapy

Read Our Latest Posts
10 of Children Have Undetected Vision Problems 640×350 1.jpg

10% of Children Have Undetected Vision Problems

Does Your Child Have 20 20 Vision 640×350 1.jpg

Does Your Child Have 20/20 Vision Yet Still Struggles In School?

crayons coloring.jpg

Fun Home-Based Activities to Strengthen Your Child’s Vision

toddler reading book 1257105 1.jpg

Treating Your Non-Reader With Vision Therapy

little boy on the road

Home »

Vision for Children With Special Needs

If you are a parent of a child with special needs, you know that nothing fully prepares you for this unique journey – no books or websites can provide you with all the answers you seek.

That’s especially true when it comes to your child’s eye care and visual needs.

Public school data in the USA shows that up to 14% of all public school students aged 3 to 21 receive special education services. This statistic does not account for all of the children with special needs, as many are educated privately.

Their conditions or disabilities can be divided into four categories:

  • Developmental — Down syndrome, autism, dyslexia and processing disorders
  • Behavioral/Emotional — ADHD, mental health, or oppositional defiant disorder
  • Physical — Muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, chronic asthma and epilepsy
  • Sensory Impaired — Blind, visually impaired, deaf, or hearing-impaired

It’s important to note that children with special needs may exhibit certain behaviors that are perceived as part of their syndrome (or a specific diagnosis) when in fact, many of these behaviors may be due to an underlying and undetected vision problem.

Vision Conditions and Special Needs

Did you know that 35 areas of the brain are involved in the processing of visual information, and that up to 80% of the sensory information that arrives to the brain is derived from the visual system?

This means that a deficit in any area of the visual system can create significant challenges for the child.

Children with special needs tend to have a higher incidence of vision problems compared to the general population. These problems may include:

  • Nearsightedness (myopia)
  • Farsightedness (hyperopia)
  • Eye turns (strabismus)
  • Eye focusing (accommodation)
  • Lazy eye (amblyopia)
  • Eye teaming and tracking
  • Binocular coordination (stereo vision)
  • Depth perception
  • Visual information-processing

Vision problems can add to a child’s challenges, as any undetected visual difficulties can affect the child’s behavior, interfere with their reading and learning performance and may even impact their performance of daily routine tasks.

Many children with special needs struggle with multiple challenges that can make academic achievements seem almost impossible to obtain. Working with professionals who are both familiar and comfortable with the requirements of a special needs child can be invaluable in helping families help their children to achieve their potential.

Eye Exam for Special Needs Children

Children with special needs tend to have higher optical prescriptions and may have reduced visual acuity or clarity even with the best prescription.

A comprehensive assessment of children with special needs usually requires a developmental vision evaluation to determine the integrity of their visual skills. If the eye doctor detects reduced vision or visual skills, corrective eyewear and/or a personalized program for vision therapy will be recommended. Early identification of vision conditions is essential in order for treatment to be successful.

Eyeglasses for Special Needs Children

There is now a larger range of options for eyeglasses for children with special needs designed specifically with them in mind. For example, children with Down syndrome have a unique shaped face and nose, which can make it difficult to find the right optical frames. However, with custom-fit eyeglasses, the bridge can be adjusted and the temples modified to keep the glasses from constantly slipping down. Frame designs also include lightweight plastics and flexible materials.

There are also multiple options for optical lenses, such as hi-index lenses, photochromatic lenses and bifocal designs that provide optimum vision and comfort.

Child Grinning Thinking 1280X853Vision Therapy For Children With Special Needs

Vision Therapy can be defined as the science of developing the visual skills needed to achieve clear and comfortable vision.

Vision therapy is a fully customized and personalized treatment program designed to improve and strengthen visual skills, and re-train the child’s visual system to interpret visual input with increased accuracy and ease. Vision therapy is more than just simple eye exercises — it improves brain-eye communication and the effective operation of the child’s visual system.

The aim of vision therapy is to enhance a child’s visual skills such as eye-tracking, focusing and eye teaming, as well as hand-eye coordination and the visual processing speed.

What Does Vision Therapy Treat?

Vision therapy typically includes specific programs to treat:

  • Lazy Eye
  • Cross Eyes
  • Visual tracking
  • Eye teaming
  • Focusing
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Visual processing

How Does Vision Therapy Work?

Vision therapy consists of a personalized program that makes use of eye exercises, lenses, prisms, filters, occluders and other equipment to develop visual skills and efficiently process information from the visual system.

In recent years, thanks to advanced technologies and new computer-based therapies, computer programs for vision therapy have turned traditional vision therapy exercises into fun and interactive activities.

While up to 25% of all children struggle with reading and learning difficulties because of undiagnosed vision conditions, research shows that an even higher percentage of children with special needs may have vision problems that are undiagnosed.

It is therefore crucial for parents and caregivers to understand the importance of bringing a child with special needs for a comprehensive eye exam.

Contact Dr. Steven Wang at Advanced Eyecare Vision Therapy Center who will examine your child’s vision and will create a customized vision therapy program specifically for his or her unique abilities and needs.

Our practice serves patients from Irvine, Dana Point, Lake Forest, and Newport Beach, California and surrounding communities.
Learn More About Vision Therapy
Symptoms Indicating A Visual Efficiency Problem Thumbnail.jpg

Symptoms Indicating A Visual Efficiency Problem

What Conditions Can Vision Therapy Help Treat Thumbnail.jpg

What Conditions Can Vision Therapy Help Treat?

Thumbnail Kids.jpg

Vision Therapy Blog

Vision Therapy Can Improve Reading Skills In Children Thumbnail.jpg

Vision Therapy For Improved Reading Skills In Children

Exercises and Tools Used In Vision Therapy Thumbnail.jpg

Exercises and Tools Used In Vision Therapy

Read Our Latest Posts
10 of Children Have Undetected Vision Problems 640×350 1.jpg

10% of Children Have Undetected Vision Problems

Does Your Child Have 20 20 Vision 640×350 1.jpg

Does Your Child Have 20/20 Vision Yet Still Struggles In School?

crayons coloring.jpg

Fun Home-Based Activities to Strengthen Your Child’s Vision

toddler reading book 1257105 1.jpg

Treating Your Non-Reader With Vision Therapy

Vision Therapy for Amblyopia

Home »

Vision Therapy for Amblyopia

Amblyopia or “lazy eye” is a neuro-developmental vision condition that begins in early childhood. It can also develop in people as a result of a traumatic brain injury or neurological condition. Those with amblyopia tend to have reduced eyesight in one eye, even when wearing corrective glasses or contacts. If left untreated, this condition can adversely impact a child’s success in work, school, sports and social interactions, which in turn may affect their self-esteem and confidence.

Traditionally, patching the better-seeing eye was the only method used to treat amblyopia. However, this can be very uncomfortable for the child, has limited results past a certain age and does not develop the patient’s normal binocular vision or depth perception.

Vision therapy helps improve the child’s visual abilities through a series of personalized exercises to enhance eye coordination, depth perception and reduce suppression. Suppression occurs where the brain inhibits (stops using) the weaker eye altogether, leading to permanent vision loss.

Speak with Dr. Steven Wang from the Advanced Eyecare Vision Therapy Center and discover how vision therapy can develop the vision skills needed for a successful future.

What is Amblyopia?

Girl wearing blue baseball cap 640Research has shown that amblyopia is caused by the brain’s inability to use both eyes as a team. As a result, the brain actively ignores the incoming information from one of the eyes. Further to poor visual acuity, those with amblyopia are prone to difficulties with depth perception, eye movements related to reading and using their vision for every day tasks.

A “lazy eye” is not at all lazy or weak.

A lazy eye is likely to be just as strong as the other eye, but because of impaired binocular vision, the signals from the amblyopic eye to the brain have been turned off.

It is important to note that a child with amblyopia can show no symptoms. It is therefore imperative to undergo functional eye exams to identify whether the child has or is at risk of developing amblyopia, particularly if a child is frequently squinting, or shutting one eye, or if problems arise in reading or maintaining focus during school or on the sports field. Amblyopia is treatable at any age, although the earlier the problem is found and treated, the more successful the outcome tends to be.

What Are the Symptoms of Amblyopia?

  • Squinting or shutting an eye
  • Difficulties with 3D depth perception
  • Poor eye-hand coordination
  • Tripping and/or balance problems
  • Trouble with smooth eye movements
  • Slower reading speed and comprehension

How Does Vision Therapy Treat Amblyopia?

Vision therapy improves the patient’s visual acuity, binocular vision, visual processing abilities, reading fluency and depth perception.

This evidence-based program consists of individually prescribed and monitored exercises aimed at developing visual skills and visual processing, made up of regular in-office appointments and (often) a series of assigned at-home daily exercises. The length of the program can range from several weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the diagnosis and patient compliance.

Amblyopia Treatment for Adults

Vision therapy effectively treats amblyopia in both adults and children. Because vision therapy relies on the neuroplasticity of the brain, and adults generally have less neuroplasticity than children, this treatment method may take longer in the older demographic. The flip side is that adults tend to comply with the exercise regimen more consistently. Regardless of age, patients can and do obtain radical improvements in vision and binocular function through effective vision therapy.

Vision Therapy Exercises and Equipment for Amblyopia

girl reading book 2 640Vision therapy makes use of lenses, prisms, filters, patches and other specialized equipment. Eye patching is referred to as passive vision therapy, which has been shown to less effective than active therapy. Active therapy uses exercises to retrain how the brain interacts with the eyes and interprets visual inputs. Over the past few years, advanced digital therapies (including virtual reality devices) have turned traditional vision therapy activities into new, interactive and exciting exercises to improve accommodation (focusing), fixation, saccades, pursuits (eye-tracking) and spatial skills (eye-hand coordination).

At Advanced Eyecare Vision Therapy Center, Dr. Steven Wang and our vision therapists treat amblyopia with proven office-based vision therapy for optimal results. All of our sessions are one-on-one (therapist-to-patient), and are conducted under [eye-doctor] supervision. We help patients develop their binocular vision and depth perception by making use of the latest technology and methods, thus ensuring that the treatment is effective yet enjoyable. Our personalized vision therapy program is designed for people of all ages.

Do you or someone you know have a lazy eye? Get in touch with us today and we’ll offer you a highly effective vision therapy program for an enhanced quality of life.

Our practice serves patients from Irvine, Dana Point, Lake Forest, and Newport Beach, California and surrounding communities.
Learn More About Vision Therapy
Symptoms Indicating A Visual Efficiency Problem Thumbnail.jpg

Symptoms Indicating A Visual Efficiency Problem

What Conditions Can Vision Therapy Help Treat Thumbnail.jpg

What Conditions Can Vision Therapy Help Treat?

Thumbnail Kids.jpg

Vision Therapy Blog

Vision Therapy Can Improve Reading Skills In Children Thumbnail.jpg

Vision Therapy For Improved Reading Skills In Children

Exercises and Tools Used In Vision Therapy Thumbnail.jpg

Exercises and Tools Used In Vision Therapy

Read Our Latest Posts
10 of Children Have Undetected Vision Problems 640×350 1.jpg

10% of Children Have Undetected Vision Problems

Does Your Child Have 20 20 Vision 640×350 1.jpg

Does Your Child Have 20/20 Vision Yet Still Struggles In School?

crayons coloring.jpg

Fun Home-Based Activities to Strengthen Your Child’s Vision

toddler reading book 1257105 1.jpg

Treating Your Non-Reader With Vision Therapy

Cute Boy Tie Backpack 1280×480

Home »

Patching or Vision Therapy for Lazy Eye?

Amblyopia, commonly referred to as ‘lazy eye’, occurs when the brain and the eye are not working in perfect unison. This results in decreased vision in one eye that otherwise seems healthy.

While patching was traditionally the default treatment for amblyopia, vision therapy has now been clinically proven to provide optimum results and for several reasons. The exercises performed throughout the vision therapy program are meant to teach the patient new visual skills in an engaging and motivating way until the learned skill becomes automatic. Vision therapy is an active program, that has been shown to outweigh the benefits of just passively patching the one eye.

How Does Vision Therapy Compare To Eye Patching?

Traditionally, placing a patch (occlusion or penalization) over the better-seeing eye was the only method used to treat amblyopia. In theory, this treatment makes sense because it strengthens the weaker eye without interference from the other eye. Some optometrists may use patching because they claim that the eye and brain will naturally tune in to perfect binocular vision.

Unfortunately, training the brain and eyes to work together isn’t so simple. With patching, this passive process may have only limited results, while the active vision therapy program is meant to guide, teach and retrain the eyes and brain to work together with clear direction. For example, if you’re learning to ride a bicycle, you wouldn’t start with learning to ride a unicycle. You’d have someone guide and teach you on a bicycle, so you can learn the skills to navigate and ride the bike correctly. Your vision is multiple times more complex than the skills involved in bike-riding, and learning the subtle vision skills requires the expertise of an optometrist trained in developmental vision therapy.

Furthermore, another problem with patching is that children may resist wearing it, as it draws attention and may affect their confidence. On the other hand, children who undergo vision therapy are likely to experience a confidence boost as their visual skills are refined.

Vision therapy was developed based on significant advances in the neuroscience of vision. Vision therapy also encourages the development of proper binocular vision and eye-teaming. Vision Therapy improves the patient’s visual abilities by enhancing eye coordination, depth perception and reduces suppression, where the brain inhibits blurred or double vision by ignoring the image of the weaker eye.

Vision therapy works through a regimen of individually prescribed and monitored exercises aimed at developing visual skills and processing. The course of vision therapy sessions are typically supplemented by exercises to be done daily at home. The length of the program can range from several weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the diagnosis, patient compliance and eye health.

Speak with Dr. Steven Wang from Advanced Eyecare Vision Therapy Center and discover how vision therapy can help you or your child with amblyopia.

Our practice serves patients from Irvine, Dana Point, Lake Forest, and Newport Beach, California and surrounding communities.
Learn More About Vision Therapy
Symptoms Indicating A Visual Efficiency Problem Thumbnail.jpg

Symptoms Indicating A Visual Efficiency Problem

What Conditions Can Vision Therapy Help Treat Thumbnail.jpg

What Conditions Can Vision Therapy Help Treat?

Thumbnail Kids.jpg

Vision Therapy Blog

Vision Therapy Can Improve Reading Skills In Children Thumbnail.jpg

Vision Therapy For Improved Reading Skills In Children

Exercises and Tools Used In Vision Therapy Thumbnail.jpg

Exercises and Tools Used In Vision Therapy

Read Our Latest Posts
10 of Children Have Undetected Vision Problems 640×350 1.jpg

10% of Children Have Undetected Vision Problems

Does Your Child Have 20 20 Vision 640×350 1.jpg

Does Your Child Have 20/20 Vision Yet Still Struggles In School?

crayons coloring.jpg

Fun Home-Based Activities to Strengthen Your Child’s Vision

toddler reading book 1257105 1.jpg

Treating Your Non-Reader With Vision Therapy

Call Our Offices