Misdiagnosed Lazy Eye

The human visual system is complex, this can lead to an incorrect diagnosis, which is why it is important to visit an optometrist that has extensive training and experience with lazy eye. A developmental eye exam performed by a developmental optometrist is recommended if a child is displaying symptoms of a lazy eye.

Misdiagnosed Lazy Eye in Bellflower

Amplify Eyecare of Greater Long Beach

What is a lazy eye?

A lazy eye, referred to medically as amblyopia, is the result of improper development of the visual system which leads to a decrease in vision. A lazy eye usually only occurs in one eye, while the other eye is the stronger dominant one through which the person is able to see. However there are rare cases when both eyes can be amblyopic.


Binocularity is an essential term to understand how the visual system works. Monocular vision refers to the vision in each individual eye on its own. However, we are born with two eyes and therefore when discussing the visual abilities of each eye, it is important to also understand the visual skills of each eye and how it relates to the other eye, as both eyes are part of a team working with the brain to comprise the visual system. This is referred to as binocular vision which is when our eyesight is using both eyes together.

Binocular disorders


There are many binocular disorders which occur when both eyes are not working properly together. Some of the main ones include:

  • Amblyopia
  • Strabismus
  • Convergence insufficiency
  • Double vision
Binocular disorders
Misdiagnosed Lazy Eye

Misdiagnosed Lazy Eye

It’s possible for amblyopia to be confused with other binocular disorders. It requires a professional optometrist who is well trained in the field of developmental optometry to provide an accurate diagnosis of a lazy eye or any other binocular disorder. There are very precise tests performed in a comprehensive eye exam which assist the optometrist to reach the correct diagnosis without confusing different visual functions or disorders.

It is possible to confuse a lazy eye with other disorders especially a strabismus because these two conditions can coexist, as one can cause the other. The important thing to know is that even if one finds out in adulthood that they were misdiagnosed as a child, it is still possible to get treatment for the correct diagnosis using vision therapy.


Misdiagnosed Lazy Eye

Example of a Lazy Eye that was Misdiagnosed

A woman was diagnosed in her childhood with an untreatable lazy eye. This was an incorrect diagnosis, however the fact that it was deemed ‘untreatable’ turned out to be a blessing. Her lazy eye could have been corrected with a surgery which would have been entirely the wrong approach. Even if indeed it was a lazy eye, treating it with surgery is often ineffective and requires repeated surgeries.

She found out in adulthood that in fact she has convergence insufficiency which caused a strabismus. To break those terms down into explanations:

  • Convergence insufficiency = in order to focus up close, our eyes need to work together to move inwards, however if a person has convergence insufficiency there is a lack of cooperation between the eyes, making reading and other visual tasks up close very challenging 
  • Strabismus = a misalignment of the eyes, when the eye starts wandering or the eyes become cross eyes

In our example, the woman has convergence insufficiency, meaning her eyes are not moving inwards in sync in order to focus up close due to the fact that there is a misalignment of her eyes and one eye is moving outwards. This could resemble a lazy eye, but it’s important to understand the intricacies of the visual system to be able to properly diagnose why the eye is wandering outward, in order to provide the proper treatment. 

Vision Therapy

The good news is that even if there has been a wrong diagnosis, vision therapy is not limited by the age of the patient so it’s not too late to strengthen the visual system with a wide variety of visual skills. Vision therapy incorporates different visual activities to train the brain and both eyes to work together properly as a team. 

Binocular disorders

Common Questions

It can be very difficult to notice a lazy eye and that’s why it’s so important to schedule a developmental eye exam for children. The optometrist performs a comprehensive eye exam, often with eye drops that dilate the pupils, as well as a comprehensive assessment of the visual skills and their level in comparison to other children at that age. Symptoms are not always so obvious, but they can include: Wandering eye Tilted head Closing or squinting one eye Poor vision Poor depth perception One way of detecting a sign of amblyopia, is if you close one eye, a child will get upset or cry, whereas if you close the other eye, the child won’t get upset in the same way.
The vernacular for these medical terms are as follows; amblyopia is a lazy eye and strabismus is cross eye. Many people confuse these two conditions because there is overlap and strabismus is actually the main cause of amblyopia, but it’s not the only cause. Amblyopia can exist without strabismus. Amblyopia is a decrease in vision that is not due to a medical condition and cannot only be corrected with glasses, whereas strabismus is a misalignment of the eyes. Both of these conditions can be corrected with vision therapy. If you have any questions about amblyopia and/ or strabismus, please schedule an appointment at our office and the optometrist will be happy to explain and perform a developmental eye exam to check for these conditions.
Misdiagnosed Lazy Eye
Dr. Ikeda cartoon


It’s important to be checked by a developmental optometrist for various conditions such as amblyopia, in order to avoid a misdiagnosis. Our professional staff have extensive training and experience in this field. Please schedule a developmental eye exam by calling (562) 925-6591. Patients looking for a developmental eye exam visit our clinic from all over California, and we are proud to be a leading provider of developmental vision services for patients from Bellflower, Long Beach, Lakewood, and Los Angeles.

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I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.

Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.

Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!

Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.

Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.

Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.

Daniel G.
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