ZocdocAnswersCan Strabismus be cured by blinding the lazy eye?

Question

Can Strabismus be cured by blinding the lazy eye?

I'm a 34 year old male who's right eye is always turned in. This eye is legally blind and has been since birth; it is extremely near-sighted and uncorrectable. My left (good) eye is also near-sighted but correctable to 20/30. When my "good" left eye is covered my "bad" right eye returns to a normal forward-facing position. It's my understanding that this is because my brain is telling this eye to turn in when both eyes are open so that it doesn't interfere with the visual field of the good eye. Four years ago I had the eye-muscle surgery done on my lazy eye to correct it's appearance. It had no effect. My question is, if my lazy eye (legally blind now) were made to be completely blind, would my brain no longer send it the signals to turn in? Would it look "normal"? I understand that no doctor is likely to recommend this course of action but I am at my wits end with this problem.

Answer

I recommend that you continue to discuss your concern with your doctors. In many ways this is a hypothetical question so there isn't really a way to know that answer, and what I'm telling you is really conjecture which means that other physicians may disagree. My guess is that your brain is already suppressing the vision from your right eye, which is what allows you to see without having double vision or headaches, and is also likely partly why the vision in your bad eye is so bad (during the years when you were developing vision in your eyes the brain suppressed the vision from the bad eye causing that eye to develop improperly and become now legally blind. This is known as amblyopia). Because you are basically not using that eye, blinding it would probably not have any effect, and I would imagine that it would continue to turn in even if the vision were totally gone. In contrast, when you cover your good eye, your brain is now engaging the bad eye and while it cannot correct the vision, it does apparently start to use the eye muscles more normally. I sympathize that this is a problem that's been bothering you for a long time, and I would continue to discuss your options with your doctors. There are probably eye specialists in your area who can continue to think about this problem with you and whether there are any other options.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.