Is A Lazy Eye Genetic? [Science Explained]

by Florian Wüest • Updated
February 25, 2023
crossed eyes title image

Up to 4% of US citizens suffer from a lazy eye. [1]

So did I.

I was born with a lazy eye. And like many other people tormented with said condition, I've asked myself many questions:

In this blog post, we will explore the question of whether a lazy eye is genetic, and what the latest research says about the causes and treatment of this condition.

1. What is A Lazy Eye?

Strabismus, often called lazy eye, means that a person has misaligned eyes.

Meaning: Both eyes are not pointing in the same direction (either due to muscular issues, or brain issues - or both in summation). [2]

While 'lazy eye' and 'strabismus' is technically not the same thing - 'lazy eye' is amblyopia [3] , and strabismus is 'eye misalignment' - it's often used interchangeably. So, in this article, I'll be using both terms interchangeably as well.

1.1 What Are The Symptoms Of Strabismus?

There are many symptoms to having crossed eyes:

  • Misaligned eyes: In other words, the eye movement is abnormal in relation to normal vision. So, one eye looks in one direction - the one eye looks in another.

To people with strabismus, this is socially unpleasant, and makes normal things such a finding a partner more difficult for the patient. As humans have evolved to favor symmetry in their significant others. [4]

This is why the number one reason for surgery in adult strabismus is psychosocial (in plain English, this means for social reasons/ interacting with others). [5]

And this is also why most people with strabismus are concerned about passing it down to their offspring: They typically do not want their children to be bullied, or have to deal with the same social alienation as they did.

  • Poor depth perception: Which makes it impossible to watch 3d movies. Or makes every day tasks that depend on depth perception, such as parking, more difficult.
  • Double vision: Because both eyes are misaligned, the input of the eyes are competing in the visual center of the brain - instead of being fused together into a full coherent one.

Additionally, strabismus can lead to amblyopia:

1.2 What Are The Symptoms Of Amblyopia?

Amblyopia is characterized by permanent blurry vision in the weaker eye. The severe amblyopia (significant loss of visual acuity) is the worst thing that can happen when you have strabismus. [6]

The reduced vision in one eye due to amblyopia is usually permanent. I've personally lost 80% of my visual acuity in my left eye, and so far have not managed to re-gain it.

2. What Causes A Lazy Eye?

A common cause of a lazy eye is the child being born too early [7], or a family history of eye disorders.

For me personally, it was the pre-term birth thing. I was born a few weeks too early, which seemed to have prevented proper neurological development of the visual center. And as a result, has created long-term vision problems.

So while strabismus in my family history is not obvious, it is generally accepted that it takes both genetics and environment to create strabismus.

2.1 Can Strabismus Be Passed On?

The best study in regards to the inheritability of strabismus is called: Genetic Basis of Congenital Strabismus. [8]

What are the findings of that study?

  1. While the study outlines that 'both genes and the environment contribute to its occurrence [of strabismus]' - they define the relative odds of strabismus to be between 2 and 2.2.
  2. Which means, if one or both parents have strabismus, the absolute risk doubles.
  3. The absolute risk of getting strabismus is about 3-4%. If the risk doubles, the actual new risk of inhering strabismus is about 6-9%. So the chance of you giving strabismus to your kids is about 1 in 11, vs 1 in 25 in the regular population.

If you double a low risk, it still stays low.

Life is risky, and it takes both genome and environment to create strabismus. So, the fear of giving strabismus to your kids is not a good enough reason to not have kids.

2.2 Can Amblyopia Be Passed On?

Amblyopia (blurry vision of one eye) occurs typically once strabismus is present. So if strabismus - meaning the misalignment of both eyes is present - the chance of poor vision in one eye increases significantly.

Which means that amblyopia is indirectly hereditary - because strabismus to some extent is hereditary.

2.3 What Causes A Lazy Eye To Develop Later In Life?

The same mechanism that causes the lazy eye (strabismus) in a newborn child, is likely to be at work as an adult.

This process is what causes lazy eye in adults:

  1. The brain favors one eye (the stronger eye), which results in a slight eye deviation of the weaker eye. Which makes the central nervous system unable to process the two images of both eyes... [9]
  2. .. leading to a negative spiral until ultimately, one eye is weak, and the other eye is completely dominant. [10]

3. What Is The Best Way To Start Treating Lazy Eye?

In my opinion, the best way to live life is to graciously overcome all challenges that are thrown at you.

So while sometimes the card we're dealt with are not in our favor, it's our responsibility to play our cards well.

As a result, every person with a lazy eye should be focused to improve their condition. As this not only improves their quality of life [11], but due to epigenetics also that of their off-spring. [12]

The problem? Improving the condition is very:

  • Cost-intensive: Surgery costs $5,000 to $10,000
  • Time-intensive: Vision therapy costs 20 minutes per day, virtually forever
  • And headache-intensive: Most solutions to the problem take a lot of effort/headache, as they're not easy to use and require constant supervision of an eye doctor

So while vision therapy or surgery is a wonderfully effective treatment for strabismus/lazy eye - it is clear that a new first-line treatment is needed:

3.1 Introducing Lazyeyefix Ai

The goal of the Lazyeyefix Ai software is not to offer a treatment more effective than surgery. Frankly, it's impossible to offer something more effective than cuts in your eye muscles by a trained surgeon.

The goal of the Lazyeyefix Ai software is to offer an easy, at-home treatment to the 19 out of 20 people suffering from strabismus that are not yet ready to go for surgery.

We do so by offering a:

  1. Low-cost treatment: Our lifetime option costs less than one single vision therapy consultation. Plus we have a free trial that doesn't even require a credit card.
  2. (Almost) time-free treatment: Our software works while you're browsing Netflix or Youtube
  3. (Almost) effortless treatment: Our software is designed to work while you're doing every day tasks on your computer, such as responding to email or browsing the Internet

3.2 Start Your Free Trial Of The New At-Home Vision Therapy Software

If you're looking to risk-free improve your condition in the comfort of your home today - then click the links below to instantly download a free trial of our revolutionary software (no credit card required).




[1] Prevalence of Strabismus and Its Impact on Vision-Related Quality of Life: Results from the German Population-Based Gutenberg Health Study:

[2] Strabismus by Cleveland Clinic:‍

[3] The Amblyopia Treatment Studies: Implications for Clinical Practice:

[4] Facial attractiveness: evolutionary based research:

[5] Adults with strabismus seek surgery for pyschosocial benefits:

[6] The Amblyopia Treatment Studies: Implications for Clinical Practice:

[7] Born Too Soon - By WHO:‍

[8] Genetic Basis of Congenital Strabismus:‍

[9] Fovea is 1% of the eye yet makes up 50% of the visual system:

[10] Frederick Brock on Strabismus:

[11] Adults with strabismus seek surgery for pyschosocial benefits:

[12] The Role of Methylation in Gene Expression:

Want to start your free trial now?

Download For Windows
Download For Mac