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Terminology

When your child is first diagnosed with an eye disorder, your doctor may use terminology that is difficult to understand.   You are suddenly introduced to words that have never been in your vocabulary.  Here are the definition of some of the words you may not know yet.

Amblyopia is a common eye disorder affecting one out of every 40 children.  This condition is sometimes referred to as "lazy eye".  The vision in the eyes is unbalanced, one eye is focused and the other is not, thus the term "lazy eye".  The brain prefers to use the eye that is focused so that part of the brain develops normally.  Since the lazy eye is not working to it's full potential; the brain area connected to the lazy eye becomes underdeveloped.

Strabismus is a deviation of the eyes. The term is used to describe eyes that are not straight or properly aligned.  The misalignment results from the failure of the eye muscles to work together.  One eye, or sometimes both, may turn in (crossed eyes), turn out (wall eyes), turn up or turn down.  Sometimes more than one of the 'turns' are present.

Hyperopia (Farsightedness)  In this condition, the eyeball is too short for the normal focusing power of the eye. In children, the lens in the eye accommodates for this error and provides clear vision for distance and usually near viewing, but with considerable effort that often causes fatigue and sometimes crossed eyes (strabismus).

Myopia (Nearsightedness)
In myopia, the eyeball is too long for the normal focusing power of the eye.  As a result, images of distant objects appear blurred.

Retinopathy of Prematurity  Soon after birth, some premature infants develop changes in the blood vessels of the eye's retina that can permanently impair vision.

Astigmatism results primarily from an irregular shape of the front surface of the cornea, the transparent "window" at the front of the eye. Persons with astigmatism typically see vertical lines more clearly than horizontal ones, and sometimes the reverse.