Can Lazy Eye be Treated for Adults?

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

Amplify EyeCare Manhattan

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 Manhattan. Dr. Nathaniel Wernick will be able to thoroughly check your visual system and diagnose any relevant condition.


Treatment Methods for Adults with Amblyopia

At Amplify EyeCare Manhattan, 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. Wernick cartoon


Treatment for amblyopia is available for all ages, children and adults alike. Please call (212) 752-6930 to schedule a consultation and eye exam at our office. Dr. Nathaniel Wernick 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 New York, and we are proud to be a leading provider of functional vision services for patients from New York, Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island.


At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.

Cynthia Norton

Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.

Steve Fay

Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.

Mary K.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!

Peter G.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!

Kinkie F.

I have always found Dr Kavner's work, expertise and wisdom of the highest caliber. As one of the fathers of OT, occupational othomology, his depth and breadth of knowledge about the eyes' health and wellbeing of the patient is exemplary. Cannot say enough good things about him.

Allen B.
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