Lazy Eye: It May Not Be What You Think It Is

Feb 27 19:45 2007 George McKenzie Print This Article

Ever since Paris Hilton became "famous for being famous," fans and non-fans alike have been asking, "Does Paris Hilton have a lazy eye?" This article describes exactly what a lazy eye is, and what it isn't.

Lazy eye is a disorder of the coordination between the eye and the brain,Guest Posting usually beginning in childhood. This disorder causes the body to prefer one eye over the other.  It is known medically as amblyopia.

Lazy eye is characterized by poor or blurry vision in an eye that otherwise seems normal.

Someone with lazy eye experiences no transmission or poor transmission of the visual image from the eye to the brain for a period of time during early childhood. Lazy eye usually only affects one eye but it is possible to be amblyopic in both eyes if both are similarly deprived of a good, clear visual image.

Studies estimate that about one to five percent of the population suffers from lazy eye.  It is believed that three percent of children under six have some form of amblyopia. Many people who are afflicted by lazy eye, especially those with a mild case, aren’t even aware they have it until they are tested at later ages. This is true because vision in their stronger eye is normal.

A severe case of lazy eye, however, can be associated with other visual disorders, particularly poor depth perception.

Lazy eye cannot be corrected by glasses or contact lenses, and is not due to any eye disease. The brain, for some reason, does not fully acknowledge the images seen by the amblyopic eye.

Many people think someone who has a crossed or "turned" eye has lazy eye. However, "crossed eyes" is actually a different eye condition known as strabismus.

Because of this misunderstanding, many people describe someone who has  "crossed eyes" as having a lazy eye.

The most important means of determining if someone has lazy eye or amblyopia is a series of special visual acuity tests. The "20/20 letter charts" currently used by schools, pediatricians and many doctors are generally not sufficient for diagnosing lazy eye.

Since lazy eye usually occurs in one eye only, many parents don’t realize their child may have it. A large number of kids with lazy eye go unnoticed until they have their eyes examined when they get older. Therefore, comprehensive vision evaluations by a trained and qualified vision professional are a smart idea, even for infants and pre-schoolers.

Treatment options for lazy eye include glasses, drops, and certain vision therapies, possibly including the use of a patch.

Recent medical research has shown that lazy eye can be successfully treated up to the age of 17. As the patient grows older however, successful treatment of lazy eye requires more intense effort, including vision therapy. Improvements are possible at any age with proper treatment, but early detection of lazy eye still offers the best chance of a positive outcome.

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George McKenzie
George McKenzie

For more information, click on George McKenzie is a retired TV anchor, medical reporter and radio talk show host.

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