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Can Lazy Eye be Treated for Adults?

Lazy eye, known medically as amblyopia, can be treated for patients of all ages, including adults.

Dr. Heather McBryar cartoon

Take our Vision Quiz to learn whether you should explore Vision Therapy

Amplify Eyecare Chattanooga

Treating a Lazy Eye in Adulthood

There is a common misconception that a lazy eye can only be treated during the critical time period of a child’s development, but this has been researched and proven to be incorrect. There is very effective treatment for people of all ages, including adults. Generally speaking, it is recommended to pursue treatment as early as possible because often the younger the patient is, the more effective the treatment can be for a lazy eye. However, amblyopia can often go undetected through adulthood because it can be hard for a person to notice that they are functioning with clear vision only being obtained through one eye while the other is being suppressed. Additionally, many cases of a lazy eye have no connection to being cross-eyed, making it difficult to notice any signs of amblyopia. 

The good news is that treatment is very effective in adulthood. It’s important to be patient as it can take longer to see the results than it would in a younger person. A crucial element of many treatment methods, including vision therapy, is compliance and usually an adult patient is more compliant than a child. The older patients are determined to see results and typically have not been persuaded by a parent or teacher to pursue treatment, but have come on their own volition as they understand why treatment is important. Adults do have some advantages over a child when pursuing treatment for amblyopia.

What is a Lazy Eye?

Lazy eye is a condition, referred to medically as amblyopia, which occurs when there is a lack of coordination between both eyes causing one eye not to see well, even with an optical correction. In such a case, each eye is receiving its own image that does not align with the other and in order to cope with this, the brain shuts off and suppresses the image of the eye referred to as a lazy eye. The brain solely relies on the second eye, which is the only eye that is able to achieve 20/20 vision. 

There are various causes of amblyopia including a high prescription of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism either in both eyes or when one eye has a higher prescription than the other. The most noticeable cause of a lazy eye is when one eye wanders outwards or inwards, but not all types of amblyopia are easy to detect without an eye exam. It is important to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist who will be able to diagnose and treat the condition.

What is a Lazy Eye?


Having a lazy eye can make various visual functions difficult and can cause a variety of symptoms. These challenges can go unnoticed as amblyopia is often very hard to identify without an eye exam because the brain has learned to adapt to working with just one eye. If there are symptoms and signs, they may include:

  • Blurry vision, even with an optical correction
  • Difficulty reading
  • Poor depth perception
  • Headaches and/ or eye strain
  • Prone to accidents
  • Poor eye-hand coordination
  • Difficulty following an object only with your eyes and not moving your head

Whether or not you experience these symptoms, if you have suspicions of having a lazy eye, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam at Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga. Dr. Heather McBryar will be able to thoroughly check your visual system and diagnose any relevant condition.


Treatment Methods for Adults with Amblyopia

At Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga, each vision therapy treatment plan is customized for the patient’s individual needs and visual skills. Vision therapy strengthens how the brain works together with the eyes to optimize the entire visual system. There are different methods for treating a lazy eye and based on each case it will be determined if the patient would benefit from one or a combination of the following:

  • Vision therapy
  • Prescription glasses
  • Eye patching
  • Virtual Reality 
  • Eye Drops

Common Questions

The brain has an incredible feature known as plasticity which means it can always adapt and be trained to strengthen/ perform new functions. This applies greatly to the treatment of amblyopia in which the brain and the visual pathways can be trained to work together properly as a team without suppressing the lazy eye. Plasticity is not limited to childhood and it applies in adulthood as well, yielding effective results for patients who are both younger and older.
Unfortunately there is a common misconception, even amongst the scientific and medical community, that a lazy eye can only be treated up until around age eight. It is tragic for people who are older than eight years old to be withheld from having access to effective treatment due to this misconception that has been researched and proven to be incorrect. Treatment may take longer in an adult compared to a child, but adults can still benefit greatly from successful results. Adults have the advantage of generally being more compliant and determined to participate in the treatment plan as an older patient usually has a greater understanding of what is trying to be accomplished. Please allow yourself the opportunity to achieve optimal vision, no matter how old you are. We welcome you to schedule a consultation at our office.
Can Lazy Eye be Treated for Adults?
Dr. McBryar cartoon


Treatment for amblyopia is available for all ages, children and adults alike. Please call (423) 710 3965 to schedule a consultation and eye exam at our office. Dr. Heather McBryar and staff have extensive experience helping improve vision for patients of all ages who have a lazy eye. Patients with functional vision issues visit our clinic from all over Tennessee, and we are proud to be a leading provider of functional vision services for patients from Hixson, Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Middle Valley.


Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.

Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.

Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!

Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!

Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!

Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!

Alice M.
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