Eye Turn and Lazy Eye are conditions that people often confuse and even think are the same thing. If you see someone with an eye that is off-center, if is often said that the person has a lazy eye. The truth is that person may very well have a lazy eye, but what you are seeing, is not the lazy eye at all, but rather it is the eye turn you are seeing.
An eye turn, called a strabismus is the physical turning of the eye away from the center. It has different names, depending on which way the eye is turned, but we don’t have to go crazy here.
A lazy eye, called an amblyopia, is a problem with how the brain is processing information coming from an eye. In a lot of cases, a person can have a lazy eye and the eye will look absolutely normal. Physically, there could be nothing wrong with the eye. Even your primary care doctor could look at your eye and not know that anything is wrong. When someone has a lazy eye, their depth perception could be off, even drastically. The lazy eye will also have really poor peripheral vision. Playing sports would be a problem as would other activities that require depth perception and quick decisions based on visual inputs.
With an eye turn, the eye would probably start off working completely normally. However, with the eye off-center, the person would be seeing double. In order for the brain to avoid confusion, the brain would start to ignore the input from the turned eye, effectively creating a lazy eye as a secondary symptom of the eye turn.
If you notice your child is having trouble on the playground or in school you should have your child’s eyes checked out.