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What is the Difference Between Amblyopia and Strabismus?

Uninterested in SchoolLazy eye or crossed eye? Amblyopia and Strabismus are two different eye conditions that affect vision. These conditions can be confusing as the symptoms may appear very similar. In this article, we explain what Amblyopia and Strabismus are, the symptoms of each, and the treatment.


What is Amblyopia?

Amblyopia, also known as "lazy eye," is a condition where the brain and eye are not working together. In this condition, one eye has better vision than the other eye. The brain favors the eye with better vision, causing the other eye to become, well, "lazy." This results in decreased vision in the lazy eye.

The three types of Amblyopia are as follows:

1. Strabismic Amblyopia

When the eyes are not properly aligned, causing one eye to turn in or out, resulting in double vision. The brain suppresses the image from the turned eye to avoid confusion.

2. Refractive Amblyopia

When there is a significant difference in the refractive error between the two eyes. The eye with the higher refractive error tends to have blurry vision.

3. Deprivation Amblyopia

When there is a visual obstruction, for example, a cataract, that prevents light from entering the eye. The brain suppresses the image from the obstructed eye.

Symptoms of Amblyopia

It is often difficult to spot Amblyopia from simple observation. Symptoms often include:

  1. Blurred or double vision.
  2. Difficulty with depth perception.
  3. Squinting or closing one eye.
  4. Turning or tilting the head.
  5. Eye strain or fatigue.
  6. Difficulty throwing and catching objects.

How is Amblyopia Treated?

Amblyopia is typically treated with vision therapy, glasses, or eye patches. The goal of treatment is to strengthen the weaker eye and improve vision. Vision therapy involves exercises that help the brain and eyes work together. Amblyopia requires treatment, and as with many eye disorders, the earlier the intervention, the better.


What is Strabismus?

When the eyes are not properly aligned, Strabismus occurs. In this condition, one eye may turn in, out, up, or down while the other eye remains straight. Strabismus can be constant or intermittent, and it can affect one or both eyes. The affected eye, as well as the amount, frequency, and direction of eye turning, all impact the type of strabismus.

Symptoms of Strabismus

Symptoms of strabismus include:

  1. Eye pain or strain.
  2. Double vision.
  3. Blurry vision.
  4. Headaches.
  5. Eye fatigue.

In the case of constant Strabismus, the brain grows used to only using one eye and symptoms usually become less severe. This can, however, lead to more severe problems in the future if left untreated.

How is Strabismus Treated?

Treatment for strabismus often involves a combination of techniques. Vision therapy may be used to treat mild occurrences of strabismus. It involves exercises that address the root cause by helping the eyes work together. More severe cases may need surgery to correct the alignment of the eyes, as well as vision therapy.

Difference Between Amblyopia and Strabismus

Amblyopia is a result of the brain and eye not working together correctly. Strabismus is caused by the eyes not being properly aligned. Both are treated with vision therapy, while Strabismus may require surgery to correct the alignment of the eyes.

These conditions may have similar symptoms, but they are caused by different underlying issues. If you are experiencing symptoms of amblyopia or strabismus, it is important to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam. 

Amblyopia and Strabismus Treatment in Hamilton

Contact the team at Vision Therapy Center at Clarity Optometry to book your eye exam. They can provide a diagnosis and recommend the appropriate treatment to improve your vision and quality of life.

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