Causes, Symptoms, and Lazy Eye Natural Treatment Options
Lazy eye, or in medical terms amblyopia, affects about 2% – 3% of the people in the USA and typically develops in childhood. Lazy eye usually develops on only one eye and rarely affects both eyes.
Lazy eye is a type of poor vision that develops when the brain and both eyes do not work together correctly. The brain does not recognize the sight from one eye. Over time, the brain relies more on the stronger eye causing further vision deterioration of the “weaker” eye.
If left untreated, it can lead to vision loss in one eye. This text will present you with some basic facts about lazy eye causes, symptoms, together with some lazy eye natural treatment options.
Acupuncture to Treat Amblyopia at Makari Wellness
Michael Woodworth, a founder of Makari Wellness, is Dip. of Oriental Medicine, California Board certified in Acupuncture and Nationally certified Chinese Herbalist.
Here at Makari Wellness, we successfully combine Eastern wisdom with Western methods. Acupuncture can serve as a viable option in lazy eye correction, significantly improving the quality of your or your child’s life.
We offer an individual approach to your eye condition, depending on the type of underlying eye condition. Lazy eye natural cure may combine Micro 48 Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, Eye Exercise, Nutrition and lifestyle counseling, and Auricular Acupuncture.
Do not hesitate to book an appointment at (888) 871-8889 or email us if you have any questions and concerns.
What is a Lazy Eye?
The term “lazy eye” may be misleading because the eye is not lazy; it simply does not have the proper nerve connection with the brain.
Your eyes and brain must work together. The retina sends nerve signals to the optic nerve to enable the vision to occur, which then carries signals to the brain. Signals are then interpreted as the things you see.
In people with the lazy eye, the brain focuses on the nerve signals coming from the healthy eye, eventually ignoring the weaker one.
Amblyopia can worsen over time if you do not seek medical help. But the earlier the treatment starts, the more likely you are to achieve the best results. Lazy eye treatment is the most effective in 7 years old children and younger, but some research says that positive results can be seen up to around age 17.
What Causes Lazy Eye?
The lazy eye develops not because there is a structural problem in the eye itself but because of the brain’s connection disfunction. Lazy eye causes may be anything that obstructs the eye vision during the child’s most intensive eye development. Usually, one eye is favored, and the other eye can slowly lose its ability to see.
Several causes can lead to amblyopia:
- Eye muscle imbalance (strabismus amblyopia) is the most common cause of a lazy eye. Eyes usually move together in pair. In kids with strabismus, one eye can move more freely than the other. So, the eyes can be crossed together, or one can turn up, down, in, or out. They cannot focus their eyes and often see double. The brain will start to ignore the image from the eye that is not aligned.
- Different visual acuity between the eyes (refractive amblyopia) includes various vision problems like nearsightedness (not being able to see far away), farsightedness (not being able to see close things), and astigmatism (blurry vision). This causes a difference in vision sharpness between each eye, so the brain favors an eye with normal sharpness.
- Cloudiness of the eye (stimulus deprivation amblyopia) occurs when one eye is prevented from seeing due to congenital (born with) cataract, ptosis (a droopy eyelid), glaucoma, eye injury/surgery, or a corneal ulcer.
Lazy Eye Symptoms
It is not always easy to detect the lazy eye, especially if the baby is a few weeks old. Sometimes the healthy eye compensates for the misalignment so well that the lazy eye is not detected until the routine eye exam.
Some of the symptoms that may occur are:
- One eye wanders inward and outward
- Double vision
- Eyes do not appear to be aligned
- Head tilting
- Blurred vision
- Poor depth perception
- Shutting one eye
It is essential to schedule an eye check if there is a family history of misaligned eyes or other eye conditions.
Other risk factors for developing amblyopia are premature birth, low birth weight, cerebral palsy, and developmental disabilities.
More on Eye Conditions & Alternative Treatments
Lazy Eye Treatment
Many people might ask How to fix a lazy eye? The treatment of lazy eye have 2 approaches:
- Treating an underlying eye condition (cataract, strabismus, astigmatism, etc.)
- Glasses or contact lenses to correct vision impairment such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Children need to wear glasses all the time so the doctor can closely monitor how effective they are in correcting lazy eye.
- Surgery to remove a cataract or a droopy eyelid.
- Forcing the brain to use the weak eye to develop better vision
- Eye patches (occlusion therapy) are a simple treatment of the lazy eye. Wearing it over the stronger eye can help the weaker one to be more active. At first, a child might have trouble adjusting to the poor eyesight, thus being clumsy. But over time, the vision will get better. It usually takes a few months for the vision improvement, depending on the age, the severity of the symptoms, and does the child follows the instructions. Make sure the patch remains firmly in place, so that child cannot peek around its edges.
- A Bangerter filter is a filter placed over the glass lens of the healthy eye. It works like an eyepatch, stimulating the weaker eye. It will not draw do much attention to the kid like an eyepatch might.
- Eyedrops are used to blur the vision on the strong eye temporarily. A drug called atropine is applied, which dilates the pupil causing the near vision to be blurry. It can sometimes be a better choice for smaller children who tend to take off the patch.
Lazy Eye Exercises
Lazy eye exercises are designed to support the primary treatment. Some of them should be done while wearing an eye patch to help the amblyopic eye works and focuses appropriately. When a child reaches a certain age, it is possible to train the lazy eye with these exercises. In contrast, for smaller children, you can only use a patch or eye drops.
Working with coloring pages where the child needs to stay within the lines will train the lazy eye to become stronger.
Putting together jigsaw puzzles with an eye patch and reading a book will strengthen the weak eye. Just make sure you choose age-appropriate puzzles and books.
The pencil exercise is also popular; it is done without an eyepatch. PPT (Pencil Pushups Treatment) should be repeated at least 3 times daily, 5 times in a row. Hold a pencil in front of your child at arm’s length, and make your child focuses on the tip of the pencil. Slowly move the pencil as close to the nose as possible (without being blurry); once it becomes blurry, move it away from the nose.
In the Brock string exercise, you need to focus on the beads placed at equal distance from one another on a piece of string. It encourages both your eyes to work together.
Lazy Eye Natural Treatment
TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) has been used to treat amblyopia for over 2000 years efficiently. It includes acupuncture, moxibustion, Chinese herbs, and Chinese nutrition.
In TCM, it is believed that the vital force of life (Qi) flows through meridians (channels) in the body. Qi is made of Yin and Yang, which are opposite and complementary forces in the body. The imbalance of the Qi leads to illness. In the case of a lazy eye, it is related to deficiencies in the liver and kidneys.
TCM treatments seek to restore the balance through treatments specifically designed for each individual. To regain balance, you need to find the balance between your internal organs and external elements of nature presented in earth, fire, water, wood, and metal.
Acupuncture to Treat Amblyopia
Acupuncture is a TCM method of hair-thin needles insertion in the specific points along the meridians. It is used to stimulate blood flow in the weak eye and to improve eye nourishment.
Stimulating the acupoint triggers the release of the chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes promote the body’s natural healing abilities, so physical and emotional balance is restored.
There are many local acupuncture points, but the most important are:
- Jingming, meaning Eye Brightness, is located slightly above the inner corner of the eye.
- Chengqi, meaning Tear Container, is an acupoint directly below the pupil, between the eyeball and the eye socket’s lower margin.
- Shangming, meaning Upper Brightness, is positioned directly below the midpoint of the arch of the eyebrow.
The lazy eye appears to respond well to acupuncture. It improves the circulation to the brain and eye. It stimulates retinal nerve growth factors, resulting in metabolic changes in the central nervous system. All this leads to preventing the degeneration of visual cortical neurons, improving nerve conduction and bioelectricity in the brain’s optical center.
A specific acupuncture system is used only for treating eye diseases. It is a Micro Acupuncture 48, a new system that involves 48 acupoints located only in the hands and feet. There is a very high chance that this acupuncture type can help to treat the eye dysfunctions, including the lazy eye.
Chinese Herbs to Treat Amblyopia
Herbal therapy is designed to treat an entire human being. A certified Chinese herbalist will provide you a unique treatment for your condition. Chinese herbal therapy may come in various forms, including:
- Liquid extracts
- Dried or fresh herbs
- Customized herb mixtures
Each herb has its strict role, with the main active ingredient addressing the primary symptom. Other components may manage secondary symptoms, so herbalist will balance the body and create an inhospitable environment for the illness. Some of the most important herbs used in treating lazy eye are:
- Qing Xiang Zi, or Celosia Seeds, is used for treating cataracts.
- Qou Qi Zi, or Chinese Wolfberry Fruit, corrects blurred vision and vision loss.
- Ju Hua, or Chrysanthemum Flower, improves red eyes, clears floaters, and blurred vision.
- San Qi, or Pseudogingseng Root, repairs broken blood vessels in the eye, improving eye circulation.
- Mi Menghua, or Buddleia Flower Bud, improves sensitivity to light and excessive tearing.
Chinese Diet & Lifestyle
According to TCM, the liver blood nourishes and moistens the eyes. So, all eye diseases are connected to liver blood deficiency or liver fire. Food that is consumed needs to tonify the liver’s blood.
Animal liver (beef and chicken) is rich in Vitamin A and iron, beneficial for general eye health.
Leafy green vegetables, like spinach, kale, and lettuce are a powerful Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and iron source, which are shown to lower the cataract risk.
Fish is rich in Omega 3 fatty acid DHA, especially mackerel, salmon, tuna, and trout.
Legumes like kidney beans, black-eyed peas, and lentils are full of Zinc, which nourishes the retina.
Eggs contain a high amount of Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Lutein, and Vitamin A, good for cataract prevention.
Citrus fruits are the best-known source of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.