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Understanding Strabismus and Amblyopia

Good vision takes a team effort from the eye muscles, eyes, and brain. When the eyes don't work together, the brain has trouble interpreting what's being seen. This can cause vision problems.

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How the Eyes Work Together

Each eye sees from a slightly different angle. This means that two different pictures are sent to the brain. The brain fuses (blends) these pictures into one 3-D image.

When There's a Problem

When the eyes don't work together, the brain receives pictures it can't fuse together. The brain suppresses (ignores) signals it can't use. In most cases, signals from only one eye are ignored. The signals from the other eye are interpreted as a flat image instead of one in 3-D. During suppression, normal vision can't develop in the eye that's being ignored. This is known as amblyopia.

Reasons Why the Eyes Don't Work Together

Alignment Problems (Strabismus): One eye looks in a different direction from what it's trying to see. This may be constant (all the time) or intermittent (some of the time).

Focusing Problems: One or both eyes have trouble focusing. The brain receives blurry pictures. Focusing problems include being nearsighted (distant objects appear blurry), being farsighted (nearby objects appear blurry), and having astigmatism (both nearby and distant objects are distorted). In some cases, focusing problems are worse in one eye than in the other.

Other Problems: Rarely, sight in one or both eyes can be blocked by a problem such as a cataract (cloudy lens). An eye doctor can tell you more about this.

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Date Last Reviewed: 2005-08-05T00:00:00-06:00

Date Last Modified: 2003-06-23T00:00:00-06:00

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We see patients from the downtown Seattle, Belltown and South Lake Union areas of Seattle in King County, WA.

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Our Staff

Dr. Feiten was born and raised in Wisconsin, attending the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for her undergraduate studies. She graduated from Pacific University with her Doctor of Optometry degree in 1987. She practiced in Kentucky for seven years, receiving the Young OD of the Year Award in 1994.

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1918 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
206.623.1758
Fax: 206.623.1759
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