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

Camera-Like Device Helps Detect Signs of Lazy Eye

WebMD Health News

Sept. 15, 2000 -- Doctors on the cutting edge of new technology are testing a system that allows them to detect early warning signs of a lazy eye, which if left untreated can lead to a lifetime of poor vision.

The best time to correct a lazy eye, scientifically termed amblyopia, is as early in childhood as possible -- correctable symptoms may become apparent by six months of age. An estimated two or three of every 100 people have the condition, but accurately testing the vision of very small children is notoriously difficult because they can't respond to questioning.

New devices known as photoscreeners may change all that by allowing doctors to get the information they need by taking pictures of the child's eyes. The pictures can be taken relatively quickly and the film evaluated later. In fact, one team of researchers in Tennessee has been studying the feasibility of having trained non-medical volunteers take the pictures in places like day-care centers and send them on to doctors for evaluation. The photos detect early signs of lazy eyes so doctors can refer kids whose pictures hint at problems for a more detailed eye exam.

So far in this study, about 33,000 kids ages six months to four years old have had their eyes photographed by Lions Club volunteers working in partnership with doctors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

"These are problems most children would not notice because they don't have anything to compare it to, so they're not going to complain of double vision. They're not going to complain of any eye problem really because they don't know what's normal," says study author Sean P. Donohue, MD, who reported in the September issue of Ophthalmology on the first 15,000 children evaluated with the handheld screeners.

But despite their promise, photoscreeners are not without problems. If not taken properly, the photos can be impossible to read correctly, meaning the child has to be retested. Also, Donohue's study found that a significant percentage of children never see an eye doctor for problems picked up on the photographs.

1 | 2 | 3

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