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Washington Vision Therapy Center

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Primary Location
303 S 72nd Ave
Yakima, WA 98908
Phone: 509-654-9256
Fax: 509-834-7400

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At Washington Vision Therapy Center, we treat a variety of common eye conditions.  As the leading cause of vision loss in children, amblyopia (also referred to as a lazy eye) is serious and treatment to correct it should begin as early as possible.

father and son

What is Amblyopia?

Amblyopia (a “lazy eye”) occurs when a child's vision does not develop properly.  The nerve pathways from the eye to the brain are not stimulated as they should be and the result is blurry vision in one or both of the eyes.  However, because the nerve pathways have not developed, regardless of the prescription placed in front of the child’s eyes, they will not be able to see clearly because the brain is not able to interpret the image.

There are three types of amblyopia.  Strabismic amblyopia occurs when the eyes do not align properly.  Typically if the eyes are not aligned, double vision results.  However, because of the young adaptable brain, most children will learn to suppress or “turn one eye off.”  Because the eye is not being used, proper vision does not develop and Amblyopia results.

Refractive amblyopia is the result of different degrees of refractive error (glasses prescription) in each eye.  Similar to strabismic amblyopia, the difference in prescription need between the two eyes does not allow the two eyes to work together, so one of the visual signals becomes suppressed and proper vision does not develop.  This type of amblyopia is often not noticeable unless discovered during an eye exam.

Deprivation amblyopia occurs when the eyes are deprived of visual stimulation due to cataracts or some other obstruction that causes the eye to not receive a stimulus.  Again, because the child has not had the experience of clear vision, the nerve pathways that help develop clear vision do not develop.

How Our Developmental Optometrists Treat Amblyopia for Communities of Yakima, Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, WA

Depending on the type of amblyopia, the treatment options differ.  The mainstay of treatment for many years has been to patch the “good” eye to force the amblyopic, or “bad” eye to develop.  While patching is still often very necessary, the underlying principle that new research points to is that, although traditionally amblyopia has been thought to affect only one eye, the treatment needs to be binocular, in other words treating the way both eyes work together.  Refractive amblyopia first must be treated by simply correcting the degree of refractive error (amount of glasses prescription needed) in each eye to balance each eye so that one does not have to work harder than the other.  In both refractive and strabismic amblyopia the next step in treatment is to create situations that will enable the two eyes the opportunity to develop the ability to function together in a coordinated way.

For extremely young children that require patching, but may have difficulty wearing an eye patch, other options include prescription eye drops that blur the near vision in the child's strong eye. This forces the brain to use the weak eye strengthening the visual pathways to improve its degree of vision.  These eye drops do have side effects that must be considered before use. Most eye doctors will consider other options first.

The vision professionals at Washington Vision Therapy Center can diagnose and effectively treat amblyopia and other eye conditions safely and efficiently.  WAVTC offers services to the residents of upper and lower valley Yakima, Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Pasco, Richland and Kennewick, WA, as well as the surrounding Tri-cities and greater Yakima areas.  Our staff can answer all of your questions concerning amblyopia and offer treatment plans capable of improving your vision and reducing your discomfort. Call Washington Vision Therapy today at 509-654-9256.

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Services We strive to provide complete care for our patients. Learn more about all the services we provide. Make An Appointment We will do our best to accommodate your busy schedule. Schedule an appointment today! Online Forms Our patient forms are available online so they can be completed in the convenience of your own home or office.


You changed James' life and we will forever be grateful! His last appointment was great and better than before if possible. Sorry we won't see you again but we are so excited James is completely finished! Thank you just doesn't seem sufficient but is all we have to say! Thank YOU!!

James B.



Meet The Developmental Optometrist

Dr. Winters is board-certified in vision development and vision therapy.  In 2010, he started a vision therapy center in Yakima, Washington.  His advocacy for children that struggle with life-altering developmental vision problems has included over 100 lectures in colleges, professional groups, parent groups, and schools. He is one of the founders of Building Vision, a non-profit that raises awareness and funds for individuals struggling with these vision problems and which has given free screenings to almost 1000 children in the Yakima area.  He established the Harvest in the Heart of the Northwest Conference which is an educational seminar held biennially in Yakima, providing continuing education specific to developmental optometry. He is the clinical director of Washington Vision Therapy Center and is currently serving as the president of the Yakima Valley Optometric Society.  


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