Lazy Eye – The Myths and Realities

The term “Lazy Eye” refers to the inability of the visual system to send the appropriate signal from the retina (back) of the eye through the optic nerve to the visual center in the brain.  When there is a deficit in the conduction of the image being viewed, it usually occurred because the eye lacked visual stimulation during a crucial period during a childs development, believed to occur between the ages of 2 and 7 years old.

A Lazy Eye can often be “fixed” by occluding the better seeing eye, forcing the lazy eye to see for several hours, several times a week, and this therapy is achieved in several ways, from patching, to blurring with eyedrops and is usually effective up until the age of 7.  Recent research suggests there is hope that children, even adolescents may be able to restore some of their vision in the lazy eye even after the age of 7.

While lazy eye is often seen in conjunction with an eye turn (crossed eyes or “wall-eye”), clinically described by the term Strabismus, the reason isn’t the eye turn, it is the fact that the eye that turns away from the object of regard isn’t visually stimulated, causing it to become lazy.

Many standard pediatrician and school screenings fail to diagnose lazy eye, as children can often compensate well enough to show apparently decent results in these screenings.  This is why having your child evaluated prior to starting preschool is very important.  Most lazy eyes can be helped, but the ones who don’t receive proper attention may remain lazy for the rest of the childs life, limiting their ability to perform tasks that require depth perception like flying a plane.

Courtesy of the Doctors at Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care; Optometrists, Ophthalmologists and Opticians working together to help you see better. Serving the Rockville, Potomac and Gaithersburg Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC for over 40 years. For more information visit or call (301) 670-1212
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