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Treating “Lazy Eyes” with LASIK

LASIK Surgeon in Los Angeles

Lazy eye (amblyopia) refers to a condition where, for multiple reasons, an eye (or even both eyes), never learns to see clearly. There are many people who have been diagnosed with this condition and have been told there is nothing that can be done about it. Although this may unfortunately be true in certain cases, a great percentage of these patients have either been misdiagnosed, or they have been completely mislead about their options!

In the subset of patients who fit this category, Dr. Soroudi has successfully restored vision to literally hundreds patients suffering from amblyopia. Throughout the years, he has become an expert in treating this condition with refractive surgery (LASIK / PRK / intacs / cataract surgery). If you’ve been told you have a “lazy eye” and “there’s nothing you can do to fix it,” we urge you to please come in for a second opinion; you may be truly amazed at what we can do to help you regain your precious vision.

Dr. Soroudi’s Explanation of How He Tackles this Condition

Our eyes always work in concert: They both like to do the same thing. If one moves to the right, the other does the same; if one moves up, the other moves up too, and if one is looking at an object at a certain distance, the other eye focuses itself to look at the same image at the same distance. Unless you’re a lizard, you never see one eye looking at the license plate of a car in front of you, and the other looking at an insect on the windshield at the same time; it’s always one or the other. This is called “Hering’s Law of Equal Innervation.”

In people who have a lazy eye, what happens is that there is a significant difference between the prescription of their eyes. For example, one eye may have a prescription of zero / “plano” (sees great for far and near), and the other is a +4.00 (doesn’t see well for near or far).

Our brain is naturally a very lazy organ. What I mean by this is that given an option to see clearly with a perfect eye vs. through an eye with a +4.00 prescription, it chooses to only see out of the good eye, and overtime, it starts to disregard images that it sees with the blurry eye; this is why they call this condition “lazy eye.” The eye with the high refractive error gets lazy and in most occasions even moves out of the way (becomes exotropic) as the brain doesn’t even expend the energy to keep it aligned with the good eye. In my practice, I even see patients who have had eye muscle surgery just to keep their eyes straight for cosmetic reasons. Needless to say, over time, the eye drifts out again because the brain literally tells it to get out of the way.

As you may know, in children who have this condition, all we do is give them glasses that correct their vision, and then patch the good eye to force the lazy eye to start working and to force the “lazy” brain to start accepting its images. For the most part, this treatment is extremely effective in children. The problem is that this treatment is not feasible for adults for two major reasons:

  • An adult brain has already become accustomed to seeing a certain way, and unfortunately, never learned to see clearly out of the lazy eye. They see much better with the +4.00 correction.
  • They cannot tolerate the anisometropia glasses with a prescription of zero in one eye and +4.00 in the other. They get dizzy, they get headaches, and they may even throw the glasses away and bad-mouth the optometrist / ophthalmologist who wasted a few hundred dollars of their money on a pair of Prada glasses.

By correcting the anisometropia (the big difference in the refractive error between the two eyes) with LASIK for example, one can restore vision to an eye that has been legally blind for years to regain useful vision. It may not be 20/20, but it can be a lot better than it’s been for years. The amazing thing is that even in adults in their 40′s, their vision continues to improve after LASIK way beyond what they used to see even with glasses!

Here’s another scenario where a lazy eye condition is totally curable. Imagine one eye sees perfectly for near and far (prescription is zero), and the other has 3.00 diopters of astigmatism. People with this situation have a problem seeing far, but they see well near. Because of this, unlike in the first scenario, the brain does not completely disregard images that come from the bad eye and never becomes lazy. Here’s where most people in this situation are truly mislead by an inexperienced doctor:

  • They’re never offered contact lenses (or they refuse)
  • They get their glasses and due to the big difference between the two eyes, they obviously can’t tolerate them; they get dizzy and throw the glasses away.

The good news here is that this issue can easily be resolved with LASIK / PRK, and such patients’ visions can easily be corrected to 20/20 (or better).

Free Amblyopia Consultation in Los Angeles

If you have been told you have a lazy eye and that there is nothing you can do to fix it, the Soroudi Advanced LASIK & Eye Center in Los Angeles urges you to come in for a free LASIK evaluation with Dr. Soroudi. Recognized by Angeleno magazine as one of the most sought after eye and eyelid specialists in the greater Los Angeles Area, Dr. Soroudi has proven he can deliver the results patients need and deserve. Contact the office today.

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