Lazy Eye

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Amblyopia, commonly known as “lazy eye,” is the medical term used when the vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly. The eye itself looks normal, but it is not being used normally because the brain is favoring the other eye. Lazy eye is the most common cause of visual impairment in childhood. The condition affects approximately 2 to 3 percent of children. Unless it is successfully treated in early childhood, lazy eye usually persists into adulthood, and is the most common cause of monocular (one eye) visual impairment among children and young adults.

Lazy eye may be caused by any condition that affects normal visual development or use of the eyes. Lazy eye can be caused by strabismus, an imbalance in the positioning of the two eyes. Strabismus can cause the eyes to cross in (esotropia) or turn out (exotropia). Sometimes lazy eye is caused when one eye is more nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic than the other eye. Occasionally, lazy eye is caused by other eye conditions such as the development of a cataract.

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