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Eye Deviation (Lazy Eye)

The reason we have two eyes is not just because it looks nice but because seeing with two eyes affords superior vision. Each eye focuses on the same point from a slightly different angle. Muscles keep the eyes aligned, and then the brain combines the two perspectives to create depth perception.


Up to six to eight months, you can expect Lucy’s eyes to cross now and then because of muscular awkwardness. If the eyes appear to stay crossed for extended periods during the day, this could be an impression caused by the shape of certain eyes whose inner eyelid is especially slanted, or it could signal a rare case of early “lazy eye.” When in doubt, mention it to your doctor.


In some children, the eye muscles differ in length from one eye to the other. The brain still orders the eye to look at the correct angle, but when the muscles are strained, the eyes become lazy and don’t obey; they wander in or out and appear crossed. Lazy eye is more common in toddlers, especially toward the end of the day, when the child is tired. Other early signs include squinting one eye in bright light or tearing. You may also be able to detect it in photos, where an asymmetrical “red-eye effect” will expose the uneven alignment. If you do notice lazy eye, bring it to your doctor’s attention. Left to his own devices, a child will compensate by favoring one eye, which could compromise vision in the other over a prolonged period of time. Depending on the severity of the condition, an eye doctor will let the condition resolve itself or will prescribe a patch on the good eye for a few hours daily to force the lazy one to work. In rare cases where many months of patching have proved inefficient, the doctor may prescribe corrective surgery. Detected early, however, the condition is often fully corrected without surgery.