Will LASIK Fix A Lazy Eye?


At Sambursky Laser Eye Center, we specialize in changing patients’ lives with advanced eye surgeries and solutions to complex vision problems. Patients with amblyopia — also known as “lazy eye” — often ask what LASIK can do for their condition. With over 30,000 successful LASIK surgeries under our belt, we know that LASIK can do a lot for a lot of people. But can it help with amblyopia?

LASIK can be a key part of treatment for lazy eye that’s caused by a severe refractive vision condition, but unfortunately, it won’t help with all types of amblyopia. Additionally, lazy eye should be corrected as early as possible, and since you must be at least 18 years old to get LASIK, it’s not a solution for children with lazy eye.

What Is Lazy Eye?

The medical term for lazy eye is amblyopia, a condition where the eyes are out of alignment or don’t work together effectively. There are several causes of amblyopia, and importantly, each cause requires different treatment:

  • Refractive amblyopia is when one eye’s vision prescription is significantly stronger than the other. Over time, the dominant eye will do more of the work, causing the weaker eye to fall out of alignment. Luckily, refractive vision issues can be improved with LASIK.
  • A case is called strabismus amblyopia when there’s an imbalance in the muscles that position the eyes. One eye appears to lag behind the other, and over time, this can lead to diminished vision in the eye that’s lagging.
  • Deprivation amblyopia, sometimes called “obstructed amblyopia,” is when one eye’s vision becomes obstructed, often by cataracts or another condition. Over time, the brain starts to favor the other eye. This type of lazy eye is most common very early in life, but also may occur in elderly people due to age-related vision issues.

Can a Lazy Eye Be Corrected by LASIK?

LASIK is a laser eye surgery which improves vision by correcting refractive vision issues. LASIK can help correct lazy eye, but only when it’s caused by a difference in the refractive error between both eyes (refractive amblyopia). LASIK surgery can make the prescriptions in your eyes more similar, reducing the issues that accompany one eye having to work harder than the other.

While LASIK isn’t a guaranteed fix for refractive amblyopia, it can a major factor in recovering from the condition. LASIK works best in conjunction with other amblyopia therapies that help your brain start to recognize the improved vision in your lazy eye.

If amblyopia is caused by misaligned/crossed eyes or obstructed vision, however, laser eye surgery is unlikely to improve a the condition. LASIK also can’t be performed on minors, which means that LASIK is not a solution to amblyopia for children.

Can A Lazy Eye Be Corrected at All?

While LASIK can assist with the treatment of refractive amblyopia, it doesn’t help with other types of lazy eye, and cannot be used to treat children. That said, there are other options for treating amblyopia of all kinds. These can be useful on their own and, in some cases, alongside LASIK.

Treatments often involve “equaling out” the vision in both eyes so that the brain has to use the lazy eye. Sometimes, this means improving the lazy eye’s vision with a stronger glasses’ lens prescription than in the other eye. Other times, this means hindering the “good” eye, either with an eyepatch or eye drops that obstruct vision, forcing the brain to use the lazy eye.

Eye exercises can also play a major part in managing lazy eye. These often center around a patient focusing on small or fixed objects or words for extended periods of time, activities which force the brain to work more closely with the eyes.

Another component is dietary changes, to give you vitamins that assist with brain activity and sight. All of these treatments should only be done with a doctor’s guidance.

Can Lazy Eye Be Corrected in Adults?

Lazy eye can be treated in adults, although it’s significantly more difficult to correct when it’s not caught early. Vision therapies are often slower to help, or less effective in, adults than children.

That said, some aspects of amblyopia can only be treated in adults. For example, LASIK can only be performed on people who are over the age of 18, and whose eyes have remained stable for a certain amount of time.

LASIK at Sambursky Laser Eye Center

While amblyopia therapy doesn’t always have fixed outcomes, you can rest assured that Sambursky Laser Eye Center will provide exceptional LASIK eye surgery if it’s recommended as part of your amblyopia treatment. We’re led by Daniel Sambursky, M.D., F.A.C.S., who alone has performed over 30,000 LASIK procedures, and our experienced team uses only the most advanced technologies to provide personalized eye surgery to all of our patients.

To learn more about what LASIK can do for you, call us at (607) 302-4742 or request an appointment online.