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Ambloypia, or “lazy eye” is often confused with crossed or turned eyes, also known as strabismus. When a person suffers from a lazy eye, it means the eye is not transmitting images correctly to the brain. The image becomes blurred or is ignored by the brain and the correctly seeing eye. A turned eye can cause lazy eye because the muscles used to focus may become weaker. When prescribed by a doctor, eye exercises can be very effective in making a lazy eye stronger and can improve the communication between the brain and the eye. Some of the best lazy eye exercises include palming, tracking, focusing, reading small print, coloring and playing video games.
Palming is an exercise that actually helps the eyes relax and is best done as a warm up immediately before attempting other exercises for lazy eye. Both eyes should be covered with the palms of the hands, while the eyes are closed. The idea is that the hands will block out any penetrating light and help the eyes achieve complete relaxation. The eyes should remain closed and unfocused until most of the spots and flecks of color in the field of vision fade away, indicating that the eyes are relaxed.
Another way to improve the strength of eye muscles is through tracking and focusing. These lazy eye exercises involve covering the strong eye with an eye patch, hand, corrective lens, or using eye drops to blur vision. An object is then moved up and down, diagonally, and from left to right in front of the field of vision, forcing the lazy eye to track it. Focusing involves bringing an object close to and then moving it away from the face, forcing the lazy eye to change focus as the object moves. Both of these exercises should be done regularly to maintain progress and in consultation with a doctor.
Other lazy eye exercises that are easy to incorporate into an everyday routine include reading fine print and coloring. Fine print can be found in books, newspapers, crossword puzzles, bills, catalogs and other mail. Coloring, especially within the lines of a design, can be an effective and relaxing exercise for adults and especially children suffering from ambloypia. Both of these lazy eye exercises should be performed while the healthy eye is covered or disabled, and the activities should last for an hour or as directed by a doctor.
A study originating in Tel Aviv in 2009 has found that video games can also be beneficial lazy eye exercises. It was found that adults who played a computer game for 20 hours experienced the same corrective benefits as patients who wore a corrective patch for 500 hours. While the study was performed on adults using a specially developed therapy game, doctors have suggested that patients may benefit from playing a commercial video game for up to an hour per day.