Can a lazy eye be restored by total darkness?

4th July 2013

The idea of restoring vision by simply switching off the lights may seem incredibly unlikely however February research in Canada has suggested that exposure to darkness could revert the subject’s visual system right back to early stages of development.

It is at this stage where conditions like ambyopia – more commonly known as a lazy eye, are thought to develop. Lazy eyes specifically are caused by an imbalance of vision at a young age whilst the brain is still trying to refine its visual activity. Left undiagnosed or untreated this can become embedded in the long term and even lead to full vision loss.

Therefore immersion in complete darkness for a period of time may essentially “reset” the visual brain, reverting back to a stage of higher brain flexibility where the issue can start to resolve itself.



Current experimentation has successfully restored vision from a set of amblyopia impaired kittens, who made full and swift recovery after full immersion for 10 days. This of course sparks great hope for future non-drug related or surgical treatment although it it will depend on the level of loss to neurofilaments which hold the visual system together.

Meanwhile, researchers naturally advise not to go and try this at home; refining techniques without resorting to living like a caveman are still undergoing and whilst it’s looking positive, it could still cause more harm than help until procedures are developed – not to mention a very disgruntled patient…

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