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Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)/ Strabismus (Eye Turn)

Amblyopia is a loss of vision caused by disuse of one eye and favored use of the other eye.  The eyes of many babies under 6 months of age do not focus together (strabismus).  The eyes may appear to be “crossed”, or one eye may seem to wander.  Normally this condition rights itself by about 6 months of age.  If it does not, the brain will start to process only what is seen from the stronger eye, leaving the weaker eye to become weaker yet.  If not corrected, use of this weaker or “lazy” eye will eventually be lost altogether.  Early detection and treatment are the keys to correcting the problem.

Strabismus refers to an eye condition that primarily affects infants and children, usually around birth to 4 months of age.   Normally, 4 muscles direct the movements of the eyeball.  The child affected by strabismus is unable to control or coordinate these muscles to focus his vision.  Either one or both eyes then drifts in a variety of directions.  This lack of control produces different pictures from each eye.   Both eyes then transmit their own information to the brain for processing.  The brain unfortunately becomes overwhelmed and selects only the signals from the stronger eye and ignores those signals from the weaker eye.  The causes may include heredity, congenital defects, brain tumors, Down syndrome, thyroid disorders or central nervous disorders.  Strabismus is also known as cross-eyed, wall-eyed, a lazy eye, or a wandering eye.

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