Binocular Vision

When to See Your Optometrist about Issues with Binocular Vision

It's easy to get the impression that the main reason people make appointments with an eye doctor is to update their glasses and contacts for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Your Doctors of Optometry at University Vision Centre in El Paso, however, don't just protect your ability to see near and far with blurry vision, and they don't just look for conditions that may require eye surgery. One of the goals of regular eye care is to preserve binocular vision.

What is binocular vision?

Binocular vision is the power of vision through two eyes. You don't have to be an optometrist to realize that two eyes are better than one:

    1. Having two eyes gives us a wider field of vision. Due to the fact that we have two eyes, we have a 190° field of vision, which means we can straight ahead, to the sides, and to a very limited extent, even behind us.
    2. The binocular disparity, or parallax, provided by the eyes' different positions in our head gives us depth perception.
    3. Two eyes working together give us more ability to see what is in front us, and even what is behind objects that are in front of us.
    4. Two eyes working together also give us binocular summation, which helps us detect faint images or dimly lit objects that we could not see with just one eye.

When is binocular vision an eye care problem?

The most common reason to see your optometrist about binocular vision is strabismus, or crossed eyes. In people who have strabismus, one eye looks at the object you are viewing, while the other looks up or down or to the left or to the right of the object you are trying to see. The condition might be constant or intermittent. It can affect just one eye or both eyes. According to the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, about one in twenty-five children have crossed eyes. Sometimes correcting the problem requires eye surgery, but your doctor of optometry can get you to the right eye doctor for that kind of treatment.

Another common problem with binocular vision is amblyopia, or "lazy eye." This condition leaves people with one "good eye" and one "lazy eye," which doesn't focus well enough to deliver good vision. Usually, the solution to the problem is to wear a patch over the "lazy eye" part-time to force it to work. Treatment isn't difficult, but failing to take care of this binocular vision problem in a timely fashion can lead to blindness. Amblyopia can occur at any time of life. About one in thirty children of elementary school age has it.

For all your eye care problems, see your optometrist at University Vision Centre in El Paso.

Our doctors at University Vision Centre in El Paso offer comprehensive eye care, including the only low-vision rehabilitation program in El Paso. We're here to help you keep great vision, but we need to see you every year. Make your appointment to see your eye doctor at University Vision Centre in El Paso online, or call 915-533-1811.

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