Wow Vision Therapy Blog

You’re Probably Using The Term ‘Lazy Eye’ Wrong

You often hear someone using the term ‘lazy eye’ to describe an eye problem. But are they using this term correctly? In my experience, very rarely.   

Understandably, most people have never dealt with ‘lazy eye’ and therefore don’t recognize the difference. Almost always, people use this word interchangeably to either describe a crossed or turned eye (known as strabismus), a droopy eyelid (known as ptosis) or some other physical abnormality. So what exactly is ‘lazy eye’ then?

Well, the term ‘lazy eye’ is a little misleading, because the eye itself is not lazy. In fact, ‘lazy eye’ refers to a neuro-developmental vision problem known as Amblyopia. The condition itself occupies within the brain, so you can never physically see the problem.

Those with amblyopia develop the condition during early childhood. There are many reasons why this condition occurs, but in general, one eye is abnormally delivering signals to the part of the brain that controls binocular vision. The improper delivery of light signals causes confusion within the brain. So to keep everything running smoothly, the brain turns off or suppresses the incoming signals from the affected eye. When the brain shuts off incoming signals from an eye, the individual is left with partial vision loss, which is not correctable with glasses alone.

So when someone is talking about their ‘lazy eye’ they are referring to the eye that they have trouble seeing clearly with, even with corrective lenses.

For more information about amblyopia (lazy eye), click the link.

Oliver Fortenbacher
Director of Public and Professional Communications
Wow Vision Therapy

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