Lazy eye, lazy brain

Lazy eye may be irreversible if not caught by a certain age. Zachary Dyson, 8, struggled to see the television and bumped into walls. His mother, Lori, noticed a white spot floating in his eye and decided to take action.

"I thought it was a piece of coal and when I got to looking at it I could tell it was actually inside his eye," explained Lori Dyson.

Doctors discovered a cataract in his left eye. The cataract partially blocked his vision in that eye and to compensate, his right eye took up most of the burden. Consequently, his left eye began to wander.

"Amblyopia or lazy eye is really not a lazy eye as much as it is a lazy brain," said Dr. Virgil Murray, Ophthalmologist at The Eye Clinic.

The cataract caused Zachary's brain to stop using that affected eye.

"The lazier the eye gets your brain quits telling it what to do and you can't get it back," explained Lori Dyson.

"You can have it from a cataract, crossed eye, a droopy eyelid or even just having a strong prescription on one side and a normal prescription on the other side," added Dr. Murray.

He warns lazy eyes are fixable until the age of maturity, about nine or ten years old.

"If you wait until they're 10 or 12 years old it is much more difficult to get any response at all," said Dr. Murray.

The hardest part for parents, said Dr. Murray, is most children will not draw attention to the problem.

"It's very difficult to catch it because a young kids just don't complain about their vision," said Dr. Murray.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends getting an eye exam by age five.

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