Toll Free : 1 123 456 78910

Amblyopia Treatment in Canberra

lazy eye patch canberra

Is your child struggling with depth perception or squinting one eye – it could be amblyopia (“lazy eye”). While early intervention is best, amblyopia treatment can still be effective in older children and, in some cases, adults.

Amblyopia affects up to 3% of children. It is a vision development disorder where one eye fails to achieve normal visual acuity, even with the aid of prescription glasses or contact lenses. This condition typically starts during infancy. If left untreated, lazy eye can lead to permanent vision loss and significant impairment in the affected eye, impacting overall visual development and quality of life.

I’m Juliet Menakaya, the owner and principal optometrist at Junic Eye Care in Canberra. My passion for paediatric optometry and binocular vision abnormalities drives our practice’s unique approach. With a background in orthoptic health care, I am committed to providing personalized eye care solutions that cater to the specific needs of each patient.

Book your consultation today or keep reading to learn more about amblyopia and how it can be managed.


Symptoms and Causes of Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

How can you tell if your child might need amblyopia treatment? Identifying the early signs in children can be challenging but is essential for timely intervention. Common indicators include frequent squinting, tilting the head, or closing one eye to see better. Some children might struggle with depth perception, making them appear clumsier than their peers.

Why does amblyopia occur? Amblyopia often stems from prenatal, or perinatal factors and family history. Children born prematurely or with a low birth weight have a higher likelihood of developing the condition. If there’s a history of eye conditions in your family, your child may also be at higher risk. It’s essential to inform your optometrist about any family history of vision problems during your child’s eye examinations.

Refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism can be more severe in one eye. This disparity may cause the brain to rely on the stronger eye, effectively “turning off” the weaker one. Since both eyes together seem to work fine, this issue can be hard to detect, leading to improper vision development.

Children born with cataracts have cloudiness in the lens of one or both eyes. This cloudiness can obstruct the visual pathway, preventing proper vision development in the affected eye.

A droopy eyelid, or ptosis, can block vision in a child’s developing eye. This obstruction can lead to amblyopia, as the eye is deprived of clear visual input necessary for normal development.

Strabismus, or crossed eyes, is another common cause. When the eyes are misaligned, the brain receives two different images, which it cannot combine. To avoid double vision, the brain may start ignoring the image from the misaligned eye, leading to amblyopia. Parents should be vigilant for signs of crossed eyes (strabismus) or differences in the appearance of the eyes, such as one eye wandering inward or outward. These signs warrant an immediate visit to a paediatric optometrist, who can provide a comprehensive assessment.

Watch the following video from the American Academy of Ophthalmology to understand more about Amblyopia.

Diagnosing Lazy Eye

Paediatric optometrists play a vital role in early detection. They are trained to recognise the subtle signs of amblyopia that might be missed during a general health check-up. For instance, they use specific tests designed to identify differences in visual acuity between the eyes, such as covering one eye at a time while the child reads letters or looks at pictures. These tests help pinpoint if one eye is significantly weaker than the other.

The optometrist may also use more advanced diagnostic tools like photoscreeners or autorefractors. These devices can provide detailed information about the eye’s focus and alignment, offering a clearer picture of what might be causing the amblyopia. In some cases, they may dilate the pupils with drops to get a better view of the internal structures of the eye.

Regular eye exams are essential, particularly if there’s a family history of eye problems or if your child shows signs of strabismus or other vision issues. Early diagnosis allows for more effective treatment, increasing the likelihood of correcting the condition and preventing long-term vision problems. All children should have their vision checked by an eye care professional before starting school.


Traditional Amblyopia Treatments

Once diagnosed, several effective amblyopia treatments can help improve vision in the affected eye. The primary goal is to encourage the brain to use the weaker eye, which can involve various methods depending on the severity and cause of the condition.

  • Corrective lenses are often the first step. Glasses or contact lenses can correct refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, ensuring both eyes have similar visual input. This equalisation helps the brain to use both eyes together more effectively.
  • Patching is another common and highly effective treatment. By covering the stronger eye with a patch, the brain is forced to rely on the weaker eye. This method can significantly improve vision over time. Proper application techniques are crucial for success, and it’s essential for parents to follow the optometrist’s instructions on how long the patch should be worn each day.
  • Bangerter filters, which are special stickers placed on glasses, can blur the vision in the stronger eye, similar to patching but often more comfortable for children. This method encourages the use of the weaker eye without completely blocking vision in the stronger one.
  • Pharmacological treatments, such as eye drops (typically atropine), can also be used to blur vision in the stronger eye. This method is often easier for parents and children to manage compared to patching, particularly for younger children who may resist wearing a patch.
  • Dichoptic training is a type of vision therapy where blue-red glasses are used to present each eye with different visual information that the brain must combine. This method helps improve binocular vision and eye coordination by encouraging the brain to process input from both eyes simultaneously, thus strengthening the weaker eye and promoting better visual integration.
  • Eye surgery, in some cases might be necessary, especially if strabismus (crossed eyes) is present. Surgery can align the eyes correctly, making it easier for the brain to use both eyes together.

Choosing the right amblyopia treatment involves a collaborative approach between the optometrist and the parents, ensuring that the chosen method fits the child’s needs and lifestyle. Regular follow-up appointments are essential to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

Innovative Amblyopia Treatment Options

What new treatments are available for amblyopia? Recent advances have introduced innovative approaches to treat this condition more effectively. Virtual reality (VR) therapy is one such promising method. By engaging children in interactive games and activities within a VR environment, both eyes are stimulated to work together, improving binocular vision and depth perception.

AmblyoPlay is a state-of-the-art vision therapy solution which we often recommend here at Junic Eye Care because it transforms the treatment process into an enjoyable experience for children

One of the standout features of AmblyoPlay is its personalised training program. The software continuously monitors and analyses the user’s performance, adapting the exercises in real-time to ensure they are neither too easy nor too challenging. This customised approach helps maintain a steady and gradual improvement in the child’s vision.

AmblyoPlay also includes AmblyoPlay Glasses, which are integral to the therapy. These glasses are designed to support the specific visual exercises provided by the program. The therapy supports multiple devices and platforms, including Android tablets, iPads, Windows, and Mac computers, making it versatile and convenient for any household.

Another significant advantage of the product is the progress reports it generates. These reports allow parents and optometrists to track the child’s improvement over time, ensuring that the therapy is effective. Additionally, the program is child-friendly, with a gamified approach that makes the exercises fun and engaging, encouraging regular use. This is particularly beneficial for children who might otherwise find traditional eye exercises tedious and challenging to maintain consistently.

With over 15,000 users worldwide, AmblyoPlay has proven to be a reliable and effective tool for treating amblyopia and other binocular vision issues such as strabismus and convergence insufficiency.

Watch the following video for a review of how AmblyoPlay works.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you fix amblyopia with eye exercises?

Eye exercises alone are not typically sufficient to fix amblyopia. However, when combined with other treatments like patching or corrective lenses, they can be beneficial.

Can I prevent my child from developing amblyopia?

While you cannot entirely prevent amblyopia, early detection and intervention are key. Regular eye examinations, especially if there’s a family history of vision issues, can identify potential problems early on.

Does amblyopia get worse with age?

If left untreated, amblyopia can worsen over time, leading to permanent vision loss in the affected eye. Early treatment during childhood is crucial as the visual system is still developing and more responsive to treatment. Once a child reaches around 7-9 years old, the effectiveness of treatment decreases significantly, making early intervention essential.

Can my child grow out of amblyopia?

Amblyopia does not resolve on its own. Without appropriate treatment, the condition can persist and lead to permanent vision impairment. With proper intervention, such as patching, corrective lenses, or other therapies, many children can achieve significant improvements in vision.

Is this condition likely to recur after treatment?

Recurrence of amblyopia can happen, especially if the underlying cause, such as strabismus or significant refractive error, is not fully addressed. Regular follow-ups with your optometrist are essential to monitor your child’s vision and ensure that any signs of recurrence are promptly managed.

Is there anything I can do to help my child with amblyopia at home?

Yes, there are several ways to support your child’s treatment at home. Encourage activities that stimulate the weaker eye, such as reading, drawing, or playing visually engaging games. Maintaining a consistent routine with patching or using eye drops as prescribed is crucial. Positive reinforcement and rewards can motivate your child to adhere to their treatment plan.

Can people with amblyopia drive?

Whether a person with amblyopia can drive depends on the severity of the condition and the legal vision requirements in their area. Many individuals with amblyopia can drive safely if they have adequate vision in their stronger eye and meet the minimum visual standards for driving. It is essential to consult with an optometrist to assess driving fitness.




Amblyopia treatment options include corrective lenses, patching, eye drops, innovative vision therapy and sometimes surgery, each tailored to strengthen the weaker eye and improve overall vision. At Junic Eye Care we have experience in paediatric optometry and offer comprehensive, personalized eye care to address conditions like amblyopia effectively.

Ignoring early signs of lazy eye in children can severely impact their academic performance and social interactions. Give your child the best chance at a bright future with clear vision—schedule an eye examination with us right away.

To visit our optometry practice, click the “Book Online” button at the top of the page or call (02) 6152 8585 today.

You’ll find our clinic conveniently located in the Molonglo Health Hub, just a short 10 minute drive from central Canberra, with plenty of free parking when you get here.

Author: Juliet Menakaya, O.D MPH

CANBERRA OPTOMETRIST Juliet obtained her Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of Benin, Nigeria in 2006. She completed an internship programme before migrating to Australia, where she completed a master’s degree in public health at the University of Sydney in 2014. Following this, Juliet obtained a Master of Orthoptics from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in 2017. Juliet has completed her competency in optometry examination with OCANZ (Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand), and obtained her ophthalmic prescribing rights from ACO (Australian College Of Optometry Victoria). Juliet has worked in various positions, including retail Optometry, the Ophthalmology Department at Canberra Hospital, and more recently, at the John Curtin School of Medical Research (ANU). As a dedicated Canberra optometrist, Juliet is passionate about helping people with low vision, and binocular vision anomalies hence her interests in Low Vision Rehabilitation, Eccentric Viewing Training and Paediatric optometry.