Are Strabismus and a Lazy Eye the Same Thing?
Jul 23, 2018 • All articles

Are Strabismus and a Lazy Eye the Same Thing?

Because strabismus can sometimes cause a lazy eye, the two terms are often used interchangeably. However, they are very different conditions. Luckily, one of the similarities they do share is that they’re both treatable!

What is Strabismus?

Commonly known as being “cross-eyed,” strabismus is a condition that affects how your eyes are aligned. When this happens, it affects your eye’s ability to look at the same place at the same time. Strabismus can cause one or both of your eyes to turn in, out, up, or down either occasionally or all the time.

What Does it Mean to Have a "Lazy Eye?"

Amblyopia is a condition that affects your eye and causes it to have poor vision. Over time, the weak eye may begin to droop or hang. This is why it’s commonly referred to as a lazy eye.

The Similarities and Difference Shared Between Strabismus and a Lazy Eye


  • Both conditions are functional vision problems.
  • Both conditions result from the poor development of eye teaming (the ability for your eyes to work together).
  • Both conditions can cause someone to have poor depth perception, eye strain, headaches, and/or general eye fatigue.


  • While strabismus is often easy to spot, amblyopia doesn’t always present with noticeable symptoms.
  • A person can have amblyopia without a noticeable lazy eye, however, strabismus can usually be seen by the naked eye.
  • Strabismus has to do with the turn of your eye while amblyopia affects the vision in one or both of your eyes.

Treating Strabismus and Amblyopia

Treatment varies from person to person and case by case. For some turns and vision problems, surgery may be required. For others with vision problems, patching may be required.

Once a person is diagnosed with amblyopia or strabismus, Dr. Wasserman will prescribe a plan that is specific to his or her individual needs. Dr. Wasserman will also carefully follows the patient over time to be sure there is an improvement!