Is it Lazy Eye or Strabismus? How to Tell the Difference

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Lazy eye and strabismus are possibly the two most common vision problems affecting children. They’re somewhat similar and may be related but display some fundamental differences as well. Strabismus, also called “cross eyes,” involves ocular misalignment, while lazy eye is a condition in which the visual development and acuity in one eye are compromised.

One of the best ways to ascertain the difference is through a professional examination with board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Benjamin Ticho. So, contact us today at Ticho Eye Associates, or pay us a visit in Chicago Ridge, IL, Tinley Park, IL, or Munster, IN to find out more.

What is lazy eye?

Lazy eye, also known as amblyopia, is a problem of visual acuity that causes decreased eyesight due to improper vision development. It is the leading cause of visual problems among children and generally develops between birth and around seven years of age.

Eye exams are essential because amblyopia may not always be apparent and may cause visual disturbances that must be detected through a professional consultation. Depth perception may be affected, and children may begin to squint, tilt their heads, or shut one eye. Living with a “lazy eye” can be very challenging, as the functional difficulties do not allow children to concentrate on their schoolwork or focus in other domains of their life.

This condition may also cause self-consciousness, affecting a child’s ability and willingness to socialize. Fortunately, we offer numerous potential treatments for amblyopia, including glasses and patches. We also employ innovative strategies such as vision training, which strengthens the eyes’ abilities to work together, an ability known as binocularity.

The ability for both eyes to work in tune is crucial to daily function across the entire spectrum of activities, be it reading, writing, focusing on objects in the classroom, playing sports, or being generally active and social, as a child should have the freedom to be.

What is strabismus?

As with lazy eye, strabismus is the other most-common visual problem affecting children and presents itself in 2 to 4% of the population. Strabismus is a misalignment of the eyes and may manifest in multiple forms.

It may be caused by dysfunction of the eye muscles, and the resulting misalignment means that the eyes are turned away from the central line of vision.

The cases are patient-specific. Strabismus may be present at birth, or it may be acquired later in life, potentially even as the result of a trauma or a health condition. It could also be intermittent. Yet it’s vital that you seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent the development of amblyopia and the loss of visual acuity and depth perception in one eye.

These two conditions can be closely related: strabismic amblyopia is a form of amblyopia resulting from strabismus. As the brain ignores the input from a misaligned eye, this eye begins to “wander” or display “lazy eye” due to the brain mainly focusing on the information from the other eye.

Protect your child’s vision and ocular health by contacting us today

Lazy eye and strabismus are similar, potentially related, and the most prevalent causes of visual problems for children. If left untreated, they could have severe, adverse effects that hinder a child’s attempts to excel academically and socially.

The most effective and efficient way to help your loved one achieve the best possible outcome is through early detection and treatment, which we happily offer at our practices in Chicago Ridge, IL, Tinley Park, IL, and Munster, IN.

A happy, healthy future could depend on it, so don’t wait; reach out to us today to schedule an appointment with board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Benjamin Ticho at Ticho Eye Associates.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.