Eye change could be sign of heart disease, diabetes or Parkinson's

The condition commonly known as “lazy eye”, or amblyopia, is often perceived as a vision problem only affecting the eyes. However, recent research suggests that amblyopia could be more than just a visual impairment—it might serve as a potential indicator of more serious underlying health issues.

“Lazy eye” could be a symptom of something wider, something a new pair of glasses won’t be enough to fix, according to experts at Oakley.

A spokesman said: "Regular eye examinations by an optometrist or ophthalmologist are essential for early detection and appropriate management of lazy eye and associated health concerns. Lazy eye, or amblyopia, should not be underestimated or dismissed solely as a vision problem. Instead, it should serve as a red flag prompting further investigation into potential underlying health issues."

Traditionally, “lazy eye” has been regarded as a cosmetic concern or a vision-related issue, where one eye fails to achieve normal visual acuity (clarity of vision) despite appropriate optical correction such as glasses or contact lenses. However, emerging evidence indicates that amblyopia could be associated with various chronic diseases and conditions affecting parts of the body beyond just the eyes.

Amblyopia has been found to have associations with several chronic diseases and conditions. Neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis have been linked to lazy eye, suggesting a possible shared mechanism within the brain, involving neurodegeneration or impaired neural signalling.

Cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and stroke have shown correlations with amblyopia, possibly due to changes in the way the heart functions affecting the flow of blood to the eye and impacting its function.

Metabolic disorders like diabetes may also contribute to the development of lazy eye via systemic inflammation and heart complications. Furthermore, conditions affecting the endocrine system, such as thyroid disorders, have been associated with amblyopia.

How To Recognise Lazy Eye

Vision Problems

Blurred vision, double vision, or poor depth perception are common signs of amblyopia. Sufferers may exhibit difficulties with reading, focusing, or tracking objects with one eye.

Eye Misalignment

Strabismus, or crossed eyes, is often associated with lazy eye. One eye may drift inward or outward, leading to an imbalance in eye alignment.

Headaches And Eye Strain

Persistent headaches, especially after visual tasks, and eye strain are potential indicators of lazy eye. Individuals may experience discomfort or fatigue in the affected eye.

Lack Of Eye Contact

People with lazy eyes may avoid making eye contact or exhibit poor eye coordination during social interactions.

Behavioural Changes

Unexplained changes in behaviour, such as irritability, frustration, or difficulty concentrating, may signal underlying vision problems, including amblyopia.

Asymmetrical Pupil Size

Anisocoria, or unequal pupil size, can sometimes occur in cases of lazy eye, although this symptom is less common and may require medical evaluation.