What is “lazy eye?”
Lazy eye is a disorder which usually begins in childhood involving coordination between the brain and the eye, known medically as amblyopia. The brain, for reasons that aren’t usually understood, doesn’t recognize or process images from the amblyopic eye. Typically, it results in poor or blurred vision in an eye that seems normal otherwise.
Lazy eye occurs when there’s no transmission or poor transmission of the visual image from the eye to the brain during early childhood. Generally, only one eye is affected, but sometimes both eyes may be deprived of a good, clear visual image.
Amblyopia may affect as many as one in twenty people. About three percent of children under six have some form of it. Many people who a mild case of amblyopia don’t even know it, because vision in their stronger eye is normal.
A severe case of lazy eye can result in poor depth perception and other visual problems. In such cases, it is common for ophthalmologists to prescribe special contact lenses made of breathable material.
Many people confuse lazy eye with “crossed eyes.” However, “crossed eyes” is actually a condition known as strabismus, and it’s not the same as amblyopia.
Lazy eye is called a “neurologically active” process because vision loss doesn’t actually occur in the eye itself, but in the brain.
Diagnosis and treatment
Since amblyopia usually occurs in just one eye, parents often don’t realize their child has it. Many kids with amblyopia go undiagnosed until they’re older.
Lazy eye treatment many include special glasses, drops, and certain vision therapies, including an eye patch. To correct other problems in vision, the use of high quality colored contact lenses is also possible.
As a child grows older however, successful treatment of lazy eye requires more effort, including therapy. Early detection offers the best chance of a positive outcome, although recent research has indicated that amblyopia can be effectively treated up to the age of 17.