Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Eye Health Center

Font Size

People With Visible Eye Deformities Face Prejudice

WebMD Health News

June 20, 2000 -- "Don't cross your eyes or they'll stay that way!" It's even more serious than the threat mothers have used on children who purposely crossed their eyes to get attention. An eye that "stays that way" brings adults a type of attention they don't want, according to a recent study.

Adults with misaligned eyes -- with one eye that either turns out or in -- often report difficulties dealing with people and obtaining employment because of their appearance, according to a recent report in the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.

Because of the negative effects this condition can have on a person's quality of life, many doctors now believe that these adults should undergo corrective surgery, even if it doesn't improve their vision.

Having an eye that does not line up with the other is called strabismus, or more commonly, 'crossed eyes' or 'lazy eye.' When a child is diagnosed with this condition, doctors are more likely to suggest surgery, along with glasses and patching the eyes as needed, for correction because children are more likely to gain a vision benefit, such as getting the eyes to work together to gain depth perception.

This benefit is not as common in adults, so doctors do not frequently recommend surgery. And corrective surgery has been considered 'cosmetic,' so many insurance companies don't cover it.

"People with strabismus don't just have a self-esteem problem, they also have problems with the way other people view them," says Scott E. Olitsky, MD, of the department of ophthalmology of the State University of New York at Buffalo. "Because they don't look normal and because eye contact and people's facial features are so important in everyday life, they clearly are at risk of not getting certain jobs and are less likely to advance in the workplace. Discrimination, although it's a strong word, is a word that comes into play here.

"These people are not looking to be made cosmetically more attractive -- they just want to be made to look normal," Olitsky says.

One adult patient agrees. "He has done a miracle," he says of his doctor, Arthur L. Rosenbaum, MD, who performed successful corrective surgery. After seven previous unsuccessful surgeries to correct a right 'lazy eye,' this patient, in his 30s, reports newly found confidence and an "uplifting of my shoulders. ? I perform better and give my best. It has had a huge effect on my life," he tells WebMD.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
red eyes
Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
blue eye with contact lens
Tips for wearing and caring.
Understanding Stye
human eye
eye exam timing
vision test
is vision correction surgery for you
high tech contacts
eye drop