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Eye Diseases: Lazy Eye, Crossed Eye and Red Eye

Written by Dr. Pramod Mane on Fri, 11 November 2022

Key Highlights

  • Lazy eyes can cause not developed vision and are also called amblyopia.
  • Strabismus (crossed eyes) is a condition when one eye is turned in a different direction than the other.
  • Red or bloodshot eyes are the result of little blood vessels on the surface of the eye swelling and clogging with blood.
  • Causes, diagnosis, and treatment of all three conditions are mentioned in the blog.
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Better crossed eye than blind, you might have heard this from your parents. It is indeed true. Blindness is a very serious condition caused by untreated crossed eyes, lazy eyes, and red eyes. You must be wondering what these conditions are.

If you've ever experienced difficulty in seeing, an issue with vision development, the eye going in different directions, and bloodshot eyes, then you must know the importance of treatment.

Read on to know all about these eye conditions.

Lazy eyes

A childhood problem known as a "lazy eye" causes the vision to not develop properly. The lazy eye is also known as amblyopia.

The brain essentially ignores the sluggish eye when a person has amblyopia because it concentrates on one eye more than the other.

Up until the age of 7, amblyopia often occurs from birth. It is the main factor contributing to children's declining vision. It is rare for both eyes to experience lazy eyes.

One in fifty kids suffers from developing sluggish eyes.

Cause of lazy eyes

  • Vision-related brain connections that are improperly formed result in lazy eyes.
  • During the first eight years from childbirth, the eye must "present" the brain with a distinct image for these connections to form.
  • This enables the brain to create robust pathways for visual information.

A lazy eye can be brought on by anything that impairs a child's vision or causes their eyes to cross or turn out.

The following are lazy eye causes in adults:

  • Strabismus amblyopia: An imbalance in the muscles that position the eyes is the most frequent cause of lazy eyes. The eyes can cross or turn out due to this imbalance, which inhibits them from cooperating and cause lazy eye movements.
  • Refractive amblyopia: When light is not properly focused as it passes through the eye's lens, it is said to have a refractive error. Refractive errors, which cause blurred vision because the cornea or lens's surface is uneven, can be caused by nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Glasses or contact lenses are typically used to correct these refractive problems.
  • Deprivation amblyopia: An issue with one eye, such as a cataract, can prevent that eye from having clear vision. Early intervention is necessary for infants with deprivation amblyopia to prevent permanent visual loss. It is frequently the most serious kind of amblyopia.

Symptoms of lazy eyes

Following are some lazy eye symptoms in adults:

  • A sideways or inward-looking eye.
  • Lack of coordination between the eyes, poor depth perception.
  • Blinking or closing only one eye.
  • Head cocked.
  • Accidentally bump into things on a particular side.
  • Droopy eyelid.
  • Frequently tilt the head to see one side.
  • Abnormal screening test results for vision.

Without an eye checkup, a lazy eye may not always be noticeable.

Diagnosis of lazy eyes

The likelihood of a full recovery is increased by early diagnosis. Children should undergo a full vision exam before the age of six months and once more before the age of three, according to the American Optometric Association.

Treatment of lazy eyes

When the intricate connections between the eye and the brain are still developing in childhood, it's critical to begin therapy for a lazy eye earlier.

Although half the children between the ages of 7 and 17 respond to treatment, the best outcomes are shown when treatment begins before age 7.

Options for treatment may depend on the underlying cause of lazy eye and how much it is impairing your child's vision. Your physician might advise:

  • Eyeglasses:Lazy eye issues like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism can be fixed with glasses or contact lenses.
  • Eye patches:Your child wears an eye patch over the eye with better vision for two to six or more hours a day to stimulate the weaker eye. Rarely, prolonged usage of an eye patch can result in the signs and symptoms of amblyopia in the affected eye. It is typically reversible, though a stronger filter. The stronger eye's eyeglass lens receives this unique filter. Similar to an eye patch, the filter serves to stimulate the weaker eye while blurring the stronger eye.
  • Eyedrops: The stronger eye's vision may become briefly blurry after receiving an eyedrop of the drug atropine (Isopto Atropine). Use of the drops, which are typically given for daily or weekend use, encourages you and your youngster to use the weaker eye and provides an option.
  • Surgery: If your child has cataracts or droopy eyelids that result in severe amblyopia, surgery may be necessary. In addition to conventional treatments for lazy eyes, your doctor may advise a surgical correction to straighten the eyes if your child's eyes still cross or drift apart when wearing the appropriate glasses. There are activity-based therapies available, including drawing, solving puzzles, or playing video games. There is no evidence to support the efficacy of including these activities in other therapies. New treatments are still being investigated. Most youngsters with lazy eyes see better within a few weeks to months of receiving the correct treatment. It's crucial to keep an eye out for your child's recurrence of lazy eye, which can occur in up to 25% of children with this condition.

Lazy eyes in adults

Untreated childhood lazy eyes may carry forward into adulthood. Try to treat lazy eyes in childhood to prevent long-term adverse effects.

Crossed eyes

One eye is turned in a different direction from the other in a condition known as strabismus (crossed eyes). Although it can happen to anyone at any age, young children are more prone to it.

The six muscles that regulate eye movement normally cooperate to move both eyes in the same direction. Patients with strabismus have difficulty with control of eye movement and cannot keep normal ocular alignment.

The direction in which the eye is twisted or misaligned might classify strabismus:

  • Esotropia (inward turning)
  • Exotropia (outward turning)
  • Hypertropia (upward turning)
  • Hypotropia (downward turning)

Other elements to think about in determining the origin and course of strabismus include:

  • Did the issue start slowly or suddenly?
  • During the first six months of life, was it present, or did it start later?
  • Does it consistently affect one eye or does it alternate between them?
  • Is the turning degree minor, moderate, or significant?

Cause of crossed eyes

Strabismus is mostly the result of an abnormality of neuromuscular control of eye movement. About 30% of children with strabismus have a family member who also has the condition, proving that strabismus is a common genetic condition.

Conditions associated with strabismus include:

  • Refractive errors.
  • Down syndrome.
  • Brain tumors.
  • Stroke.
  • Major head injury, damage of nerve associated with eye movement.
  • Graves disease.
  • Cognitive disease results in fluid accumulation in the brain.

Strabismus can also affect adults. Ocular misalignment in adults is most frequently caused by stroke, although it can also be brought on by physical trauma or untreated childhood strabismus that has returned or worsened. Adults with strabismus may benefit from a range of treatments, including prism glasses, patching, monitoring, and/or surgery.
 

Diagnosis of crossed eyes

Children more the 2 years old have to be diagnosed with crossed eyes by complete eye checkup at a pediatric ophthalmologist, and adults can go to any opthalmologist.

This eye exam may include:

  • Patient history: To identify the patient's symptoms, any family history of health issues, general health issues, medications being taken, and any other potential causes of symptoms.
  • Visual activity: Observing young children's visual activity by reading letters from an eye chart.
  • Refraction: Measuring how the eyes focus light using a variety of corrective lenses.
  • Alignment and focus tests: Observing how you align things and your focus.

Treatment of crossed eyes

Options for treatment include the following:

  • Glasses: When a patient has refractive problems that have not been rectified, they use glasses or contact lenses. With corrective glasses, the eyes may focus more easily and stay straight.
  • Prism lenses: Unique lenses that can distort light entering the eye and lessen the amount of eye movement required to focus on objects.
  • Eye exercises: Some forms of strabismus may be helped with eye exercises, particularly exotropia.
  • Medication: Eye drops or ointments as medicine. Additionally, Botox injections can weaken an overactive eye muscle. Depending on the patient's situation, these treatments may be utilized in addition to or instead of surgery.
  • Eye patches: If the patient also has amblyopia (lazy eye), patching is used to treat both conditions. The ability to correct eye misalignment may also improve as vision gets better.
  • Eye muscle surgery: Surgery realigns the eyes by adjusting the length or position of the eye muscles. Dissolvable stitches are used, and general anesthesia is used. Adults with adjustable strabismus may occasionally be offered surgery in which the locations of the eye muscles are modified after the procedure.

Red eyes

Small blood vessels on the surface of the eye swell and become clogged with blood, which causes red or bloodshot eyes.

In most situations, a red eye is related to periodic and mild ocular surface reactions because of the external ocular exposure to environmental chemicals that cause natural irritation.

But in actuality, both ocular surface redness and tearing more frequently are natural defense mechanisms to protect from foreign particles. Rubbing your eyes may Increase the level of eye redness even more.

Cause of red eyes

There are lots of different things that can cause a red eye. The major causes are:

  • Allergies: Irritating substances such as pollen, dust, chemicals, makeup, or contact lenses get into a person's body, and your immune system reacts immediately.
  • Eyelid inflammation: Eyelid inflammation is a common condition that can cause red eyes, and swollen eyes, the eye may also burn, be sensitive to light, and have excessive amounts of tears.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma typically develops gradually and initially shows no symptoms. Acute or severe glaucoma is a disorder that can cause blindness and requires immediate medical intervention. Be cautious if your eyes suddenly become painful and brilliant red, and you also have nausea, vision loss, and haloes around lights.
  • Injury from a burn or blunt trauma: Major eye injury or trauma can cause bloodshot eyes. Blood vessels in the eye dilate more to make space for blood flow to the injury site for quick healing.

Other causes of red eyes:

  • Inflammation of the cornea.
  • A broken blood vessel in the eye.
  • Eyedrops side effect.
  • Contact lens complications.
  • Corneal herpes.
  • Dry eyes.
  • Inflammation of the iris.
  • Foreign particles in the eyes.
  • Scleritis (inflammation of the white part of the eye).

What not to do with a red eye?

If your eyes are not hurting and there is no sign of serious damage, then it will probably get better a few times on its own. But eyedrops may help ease discomfort. Until it gets better:

  • Do not touch or rub your eyes.
  • Do not wear contact lenses or eye makeup.
  • Frequently wash your eyes.

Treatment of red eyes

Common red eye treatments include eyedrops, antibiotics, creams, and oral medications.

You can use some home remedies to treat the red eye:

  • Cool compress: Use a cool compress on the eyes, made by soaking clean cotton or cloth in cold water. Cool eye pads are also effective for red eyes.
  • Artificial tears: Artificial tears can make your eyes lubricated and reduce the redness caused by dry eyes.
  • Medication: Use antihistamine drops for allergic red eyes, avoid eye makeup, or use hypoallergenic makeup.

Things to do to prevent the worsening of red eyes:

  • Avoid smoking, dust, and other triggering agents.
  • Do not wear contact lenses until you clear your eyes.
  • Wash your hands before touching your affected eye.
  • Take a shower before bed after coming from outside.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from allergens.

Conclusion

Reading so far you may have got all the important information about eye diseases such as lazy eyes, cross eyes, and red eyes. These three conditions are somehow connected. In children, lazy eyes, and crossed eyes are very common.

However, adults too can suffered from conditions like this. Hence, it is extremely important to know about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of lazy eye, crossed eye and red eyes, for better eye health in the long run.

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Dr. Pramod Mane

A Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Pharmacology., currently based in Mumbai, India, Dr Pramod Mane, comes with an experience of more than 20 years of working in Medical Affairs in the Pharmaceuticals & Nutraceutical Industry. Director of Medical Services at Mega Lifesciences since 2008, Dr Mane has been associated with several MNCS in the areas of Medical Affairs, Medical Services, Medico-marketing, Pharmacovigilance & Clinical trials in his illustrious career.

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