Misconception of the Term “Lazy Eye”

The term “lazy eye” is often misused by the general population when describing an eye that drifts inward (toward the nose) or outward (toward the ear). The medical term for eye misalignment is strabismus. A person who suffers from a “lazy eye” has a condition known as amblyopia.

A child with amblyopia actually possesses a lazy brain, rather than a lazy eye, because the brain shuts off power to one eye and uses a single eye to see while the other remains unfocused.

Although the most common cause of amblyopia is strabismus, a child can suffer from amblyopia because of nearsightedness or farsightedness without showing any visible signs. Sometimes a difference in glasses prescription between the eyes can cause amblyopia. Other causes may be cataracts and droopy eyelids.

Finally, untreated amblyopia may result in permanent vision loss that cannot be corrected later by glasses or surgery.