Lazy Eye (Amblyopia) and Crossed Eyes (Strabismus) are not the same condition.
Many people make the mistake of saying that a person who has a crossed or turned eye has a “lazy eye,” but amblyopia and strabismus are not the same condition. Some of the confusion may be due to the fact that an eye turn can cause lazy eye. In other words, amblyopia can result from a constant unilateral strabismus (i.e., an eye that turns or deviates all of the time). Alternating or intermittent strabismus (an eye turn which occurs only some of the time) rarely causes amblyopia.
While a deviating eye (strabismus) can be easily spotted by the layman, amblyopia without strabismus or associated with a small deviation usually can be not noticed by either you or your pediatrician. Only an eye doctor comfortable in examining young children and infants can detect this type of amblyopia. This is why early infant and pre-school eye examinations are so necessary.
Due to misunderstanding or misuse of the terms for different visual conditions (i.e., deviating eyes vs. lazy eye), many people are inaccurately labelled as having a “lazy eye.” If you think you or someone you know has lazy eye, learn more at Constant or Intermittent?, What is Convergence Insufficiency?, What is Double Vision?, What is Strabismus?, Exotropia, Esotropia, and Treatment Options.
Convergence Insufficiency is a fairly common visual condition which is also (1) confused with lazy eye; (2) not easily discernable to the observer and (3) not detected by the standard 20/20 eye test. Convergence Insufficiency is estimated to affect 5 out of 100 children and adults. See What is Convergence Insufficiency?
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Lazy Eye Treatment and Cure in Older Children and Adults by neurobiologist Susan R. Barry, Ph.D. and Rachel Cooper
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Age is Not a Factor in How to Fix a Lazy Eye by Rachel Cooper
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The information on this advertising-free patient education site is sponsored by Optometrists Network, Senior Editor Rachel Cooper, with special thanks to the following non-profits: – American Optometric Association (AOA) Infantsee program– College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD)– Optometric Extension Program Foundation (OEPF)