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Q: What causes lazy eye?

Posted August 07, 2013 in Advice Column, Norwalk

A: Lazy eye is also known as amblyopia. It can be caused by stabismus (misaligned eyes or crossed eyes), unequal prescriptions in the eyes or cloudiness of the normally clear eye tissue (for example; a cataract that a child is born with). All of these conditions can result in a blurred image in one eye. The brain is able to then “turn off” the image coming from the blurry eye. When that occurs, we are essentially using one eye. This can result in poor stereopsis or depth perception.

For the eyes that are crossed or cloudy, an eye surgery may be needed. In all types of lazy eye, some form of patching therapy is required to improve the vision. The patch is worn over the better seeing eye, forcing the brain to view through the poorer eye. Eventually the pathway from eye to brain is strengthened and vision improves to different degrees. Patching therapy can take months to years to see the desired results.

Answer provided by Dr. Michael O’Meara at Optometric Association of Warren County, P.C., 1228 Sunset Drive, Suite A, Norwalk, 981-0224.

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