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What Is Eye Weakness?

Consult with an optometrists if you are experiencing vision problems.
Anatomy of the human eye.
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  • Written By: Traci Behringer
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 15 March 2014
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The human eyeball has six muscles with the sole purpose of pulling the eyeball in different directions. The purpose of this is to allow each of the two eyeballs to fix on a common point. Without this, people would see double. Of course, as with any of part of the human body, even these powerful muscles are susceptible to problems. One of the primary problems is eye weakness, a troubling symptom common to a number of disorders.

This condition occurs when at least one of the six muscles has insufficient strength to hold up the eyeball. This might lead to the eyeball falling inward during near-sighted activities or falling outward otherwise. Additionally, this general weakness can lead a person to see double. These are all common symptoms of eye weakness.

Causes of eye weakness generally include heavy eye strain, injury or paralysis. Sometimes, it's a simple cause for a temporary problem, such as basic weakness during a bout of the flu. Other times, it can be a more serious problem, such as amblyopia, a problem coined by many as "lazy eye."

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Amblyopia is one of the more well known disorders involving eye weakness, but the causes of lazy eye go beyond those six muscles. This is a disorder in which the optic nerve and the brain cannot transmit sight information properly, so the term "lazy brain" might be more appropriate. A patient will normally only suffer from amblyopia in one eye, though it is not unheard of for both eyes to be affected by the condition.

If you begin to see double or experience blurred vision when you normally see clearly, you may be experiencing eye weakness. Patients who notice these symptoms of weakness should make an appointment with an optometrist for an optical examination. Depending on the disorder associated with the particular muscle weakness, a patient may experience a number of other symptoms, as well. For example, anxiety, dizziness, joint pain, and muscle weakness somewhere other than the eye also may be present. When this happens, see a general practitioner along with the optometrist.

Eye weakness left untreated can lead to a variety of problems. Patients with prolonged, untreated weakness may lose all functionality in the failing muscle. This places more stress on the nervous system, leading to more problems, including the possibility of a permanent squint, further proving the critical need to treat any such problem early.

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Discuss this Article

fify
Post 6

@Fa5t3r-- That's not eye weakness, your eyes were just tired. In eye muscle weakness, vision problems will be constant not temporary.

I suppose that if someone experiences tired and dry eyes for a long time, it may develop into a weakness. But for the most part, eye weakness is from birth or due to an injury.

bear78
Post 5

@fBoyle-- I don't know if doctors still do this now, but they can cover up the good eye to strengthen the lazy one.

My sister was diagnosed with amblyopia in her left eye in childhood. So the doctor decided to cover her right eye to strengthen the other. Basically, when the good eye is unusable, the brain relies on the lazy eye for vision which strengthens the muscles there.

As far as I can remember, she wore a patch on her right eye for about a year. But it worked! The left eye caught up to the right one. Once in a while, when she looks in certain direction, you can tell that one eye is looking a bit different if you really pay attention. For the most part though, no one notices it.

fBoyle
Post 4

If eye weakness is a cause of lazy eye, is there a way to "strengthen" the muscles to treat or lessen the condition?

Fa5t3r
Post 3

I think I must have had weak eyes after a long, long flight I took a few years ago, because by the end of it I was really having trouble focusing on anything.

It was just one of those flights where you have to stop in several different airports and don't really have time to sleep properly. I guess even if you can't sleep, you should still try to close your eyes for a bit to give them a rest but I didn't think of that at the time.

lluviaporos
Post 2

@bythewell - Yes, that's a treatment for some kinds of amblyopia although if I recall correctly, they only usually do it on young kids, so your friend was probably lucky they caught it early enough for it to be fixed by those means.

And they have to be careful they don't damage the good eye by keeping it from being able to see for long periods as well, so it's annoying all around.

I think when they get past a certain age, mostly they just have to teach them to process what they can see with their eyes not lining up properly, rather than trying to actually fix the problem physically.

bythewell
Post 1

I remember when I was at grade school one of the other students had what she called a "lazy eye". I honestly thought it was something she chose, because of the term and that she was just too lazy to correct her eyes when they went the wrong way!

If I remember correctly she had a bandage put over one of her eyes and that was supposed to make the other one work properly, because it would be forced to make up for the loss of the other eye.

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