Public Release: 

Does having 'lazy eye' affect a child's self-esteem?

JAMA Ophthalmology

Bottom Line: Academic performance, interactions with peers, and athletic ability are factors connected to self-esteem in school children. This study of children in the third to eighth grades looked at whether the condition "lazy eye" or amblyopia, where one eye has reduced vision due to misalignment or blur, was associated with lower self-perception by children of their competence, appearance, conduct and self-worth. The study included 50 children with amblyopia, along with 13 others without it but with misalignment or blur of one eye, and 18 children with no such eye conditions in a control group for comparison. Children with "lazy eye" had lower scholastic, social and athletic scores on a self-perception profile than the children in the control group. Reading speed was associated with self-perception of academic competence, while aiming and catching skills were associated with self-perception of scholastic, social and athletic ability for children with amblyopia. However, it is unknown if improvements in sensory function because of treatment for amblyopia will result in improved self-perception scores.

Authors: Eileen E. Birch, Ph.D., Retina Foundation of the Southwest, Dallas, and coauthors

Related Material: The commentary, "Childhood Self-Perceptions in Children With Amblyopia," by Joseph L. Demer, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, is available on the For The Media website.


To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.


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