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What is "lazy eye", and how is it treated in adults?

By October 2, 2008 - 12:26pm
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My MIL just told us last night that she has a "lazy eye", and has had it since she was 8 years old (she is in her late 60s now). The doctor gave her a "prism" placed on one lens of her eyeglasses, which looks like a film that makes one eye "work harder" to see through it.

What exactly is "lazy eye", and what is the technical term? I assume there are different degrees of this, as no one knew she had it. (Her diabetes may be making it worse, which is why it is just now being treated?).

Would love to find more info about this, and hear others' experiences.


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When my daughter was around 6 years old, someone suggested that she might have lazy eye because of the way her eyes drooped. Well, it turned out that her beautiful big eyes just droop a little. She does have to wear glasses for reading, but her optometrist or other doctors didn't find any significant problems with her sight. Both my DH and I, our older son, our parents and some siblings wear corrective lenses; we're all nerds, LOL!

October 2, 2008 - 4:17pm

Hi "Free" - Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, is the eye condition noted by reduced vision not correctable by glasses or contact lenses and is not due to any eye disease.

The brain, for some reason, does not fully acknowledge the images seen by the amblyopic eye. This almost always affects only one eye but may cause poorer vision in both eyes. About three percent of children under six have some form of amblyopia.

Anything that interferes with clear vision in either eye during the critical period (birth to 6 years of age) can cause amblyopia. The most common causes of amblyopia are constant strabismus (constant turn of one eye), anisometropia (different vision/prescriptions in each eye), and/or blockage of an eye due to cataract, trauma, lid droop, etc.

Amblyopia is a "neurologically active" process. In other words, the loss of vision takes place in the brain. If one eye sees clearly and the other sees a blur, the brain can block, or ignore, the eye with the blur. The brain can also suppress one eye to avoid double vision. The inhibition process (suppression) can result in a permanent decrease in the vision in the blurry eye that can not be corrected with glasses, lenses, or lasik surgery.

Treatment involves glasses, drops, vision therapy and/or patching. Recent medical research has proven that amblyopia is successfully treated up to the age of 17.

Treatment of amblyopia after the age of 17 is not dependent upon age but requires more effort including vision therapy. Although improvements are possible at any age with proper treatment, early detection and treatment still offer the best outcome.

Diabetes has no relation to "lazy eye" and does not make it worse, but the diabtes itself can cause other eye problems. It's possible that the "lazy eye" was found during the careful eye exams that those with diabetes must have.

My sister was diagnosed in her 40's, and had very good improvement with the "prism" you mention. I hope your mil does well too!

Here is a good site for more information:

Sandy r

October 2, 2008 - 1:09pm
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