A common euphemism for the technical term Amblyopia. A lazy eye may be with or without strabismus. Strabismus is a fancy way of saying the two eyes are looking in different directions. A strabismus may not even be noticeable. On the otherhand, some people appear cross-eyed or wall-eyed because of their strabismus.

I was diagnosed as needing glasses at age 6. To read the blackboard in first grade I would lean out of my seat so that my head was sideways. I can discriminate between horizontal lines more easily than I can vertical lines; printing has many more vertical strokes than horizontal ones. So it was easier for me to read by leaning my head sideways - sort of standing on my ear. The teacher thought this strange and recommended I get glasses.

At age 11 the optometrist finally realized I had a lazy eye. I couldn't read using only my left eye -- with or without lenses. My "good" eye isn't all that good either; my vision usually tests out at 40/200. For a year I wore a patch over the good eye, but it had little effect. Lazy eye is best caught and treated when young.

Because I've had this problem since birth it's never caused me any real concern. I did some research a few years ago and ran across some pretty strong correlations between lazy eyes and delivery using forceps. Apparently many doctors would cause injury to the newborn using forceps and lazy eyes often were the result. Given the horse doctors in my hometown that somehow doesn't surprise me.

Though I basically look at the world with one eye, I've never had a problem with depth perception or hand-eye coordination. In fact, I was always sought after as a baseball umpire. On the other hand, 3-D lenses and magic eye puzzles do absolutely nothing for me -- because they both rely upon our natural stereoscopic vision, which I lack.

It's difficult to describe what I see when I look at the world using only my lazy eye. Nothing is blurry or fuzzy. Everything is pretty much the same - except I can't see. Or I can't comprehend what I see. Things don't quite make sense. There are blank spots in my vision precisely where I'm trying to look. Lazy eye can be as much -- if not more -- an image processing problem than an actual vision problem. That's why corrective lenses rarely help.

I've never tried vision therapy. I'm sceptical that it would work for me. I do think the horizontal vs vertical line discrimination differences should offer someone a clue, but I've never met an eye doctor who paid much attention to that fact.

But what the hey....I figure I've got this rarely used eye just sitting there in reserve should something happen to my "good" one.

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