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One of my friends recently told me he previously had lazy eye. He said the way he cured it was to cover his good eye with an eyepatch for about a week; this caused his other eye's muscles to strengthen by necessity.

He also told me that his correction decreased slightly from the experience, because his eye had to compensate.

I have found sources like these, though that effect seems temporary at best. This seems more like pseudoscience, and I don't consider it reputable.

Is there any definitive evidence for or against this claim?

  • I've heard similar stories, especially for kids(my grandpa had it done to him as a kid), but never seen any proof. One of his eyes is nearsighted, the other is longsighted. Supposedly the weaker eye gets blinded out then, if nothing is done. – Wertilq Apr 9 '13 at 6:03
  • I have had a lazy eye since I was very young. The doctors when I was a kid prescribed exactly this treatment but from memory it was for much more than a week. I never did it, I still have a lazy eye. That does not provide an answer, but anecdotally this is the course of treatment for a lazy eye. – Jamiec Apr 9 '13 at 7:46
  • @Jamiec, "is the course of treatment", or "was the course of treatment"? – Kenshin Apr 9 '13 at 9:22
  • I wasn't trying to correct you Jamiec, but just clarifying, because your last sentence could have implied that you knew that course of treatment is still used. I don't want people with lazy eyes thinking that is the course of treatment, when in fact these days there might be more advanced courses of treatment to take if they see a doctor. – Kenshin Apr 9 '13 at 9:57
  • Anecdotal, but I've seen this in the UK, France and Switzerland (that last one recently) – Benjol Jun 5 '13 at 7:27
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Assuming you are talking about what is commonly know as "lazy eye" or amblyopia from a medical standpoint, then yes patching the dominate eye is a common treatment that is used (see also, 1, 2, 3, 4). However, other treatments such as eye drops may be used to force the weaker eye to get stronger by blurring the vision in the dominate eye.

When should patching be used for amblyopia treatment?

Patching should only be done if an ophthalmologist recommends it. An ophthalmologist should regularly check how the patch is affecting the child’s vision. Although it can be hard to do, patching usually works very well if started early enough and if the parents and child follow the patching instructions carefully. It is important to patch the dominant eye to allow the weak eye to get stronger. [See figure 2]

Medical diagram of patched eye

  • Just a note, as can be seen in the sources provided, the "normal" patching treatment works only until the around the age of 8. Older children and adults with lazy eye will need other, more complex treatments. – SIMEL Mar 6 '14 at 13:18
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Covering one eye for an extended period of time alters ocular dominance columns in the visual cortex (brain connections), particularly during the sensitive period (up until around 8-10 years of age) when they are sorting themselves out.

This will alter the function of both eyes in favour of the open eye which is providing all the stimulus. If both eyes are healthy the main effect may be a loss of vision to the covered eye.

It should only be done in consultation with an eye-care professional.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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protected by Sklivvz Mar 6 '14 at 21:28

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