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Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) Vision Therapy

What Is Amblyopia?

Throw away your patch!

Amblyopia (sometimes called lazy eye) is the brain’s failure to see with an otherwise healthy eye. The loss of vision, being in the brain, cannot be fully corrected with glasses.

Three Myths:

1) You cannot treat amblyopia after age 6:
The fact is that amblyopia can be treated in both children and adults. There are gold standard studies showing that significant gains may be found in teenagers. There are numerous case reports of adults being treated by “perceptual learning,” a form of vision therapy. As long ago as 1977, a literature review showed that the chances of getting four lines of improvement (20/80 to 20/70 to 20/60 to 20/50 to 20/40 for example) was 50 percent whether treatment was performed before age 7 or after age 16. At Cook Vision Therapy we have been treating amblyopia for the past 30 years in both children and adults.

2) Full Time Patching is Required:
The fact is that at Cook Vision Therapy we have not full-time patched school age children at home for the last 30 years. It is not necessary. Gold standard studies now show that 6 hours a day of patching is as effective as 12 hours a day. Two hours a day of patching while playing video games is as effective as 6 hours of passive patching. In our office, we prescribe intensive therapy at the very limits of performance for no more than 25 minutes a day (usually 10 minutes).

3) Amblyopia Is a One-eyed Problem:
The fact is that amblyopia is generally a problem of two-eyed seeing. Because the eyes do not work together, the brain reduces seeing in one eye to reduce interference between the two eyes. Patching an eye to improve acuity in one eye generally does not correct the two-eyed problem. As a result, when the patch is no longer worn, the vision is again lost in the “amblyopic” eye.

The real loss with amblyopia, however, is not just that sight is reduced when the good eye is covered. Amblyopia can reduce 3D vision and performance for everything in life. The brain continues to shut off the amblyopia eye even when both eyes are open. Sometimes children become very good at seeing with one eye. Sometimes not. All 7 Visual Abilities remain poor.


For the last hundred years, the main treatment for amblyopia has been simply patching the “good” eye. When the patch is removed, the brain frequently continues to shut off the amblyopic eye; vision is once more lost. Patching may have to be repeated again and again–for years.

At Cook Vision Therapy Center, we treat both children and adults with amblyopia. We do not patch except for brief periods of intense stimulation of the amblyopic eye. We also use 3D vision therapy to train the brain to use the eyes together. When successful, therapy improves both 3D vision and the vision in the amblyopic eye, the gains hold.

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Check Out Our Resources

Dr. Cook’s Publications:

  • Published articles in top optometric journals.
  • His article “Eyesight, infinity and the human heart” was voted “Best Non-Technical Article” by the Association of Optometric Editors.

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