Anisometropia is a vision condition in which the refractive power of both eyes is unequal by a difference of of 2 diopters or more). A person affected by anisometropia will usually see a smaller image in one eye and a larger image in another. In many cases, anisometropia is present from birth, which can be difficult (but certainly possible) to detect. Anisometropia can develop at any age, however, and seems to equally affect males and females. An estimated six percent of children between the ages of six and eighteen will suffer from this visual condition.


    Detecting anisometropia is especially important in infants, since untreated cases may ultimately lead to permanent vision loss. The difference in the refractive errors or focal strength of the two eyes can lead to cognitive suppression of the weaker eye’s blurry image. Put simply, a child’s brain will begin to ignore signals from the less clear eye until it loses its functionality. Treatment for anisometropia and amblyopia (sometimes called “lazy eye”) becomes very difficult if the conditions are not detected early. Correcting the refractive errors may not solve the fundamental problems of anisometropia or amblyopia. Some reports indicate that a difference as small as one diopter between the two eyes — even when corrected with glasses — can impact the child’s depth perception.

    Contact lens therapy is the preferred method for treating anisometropia in children particularly due to the risk of amblyopia in children. The magnitude of the anisometropic difference between the eyes can determine if amblyopia will develop. Amblyopia is more prevalent in far-sighted children than in near-sighted children, since most younger patients have a close working distance.


    According to a 2013 study, the prevalence of anisometropia tends to increase with age (in this case, referring specifically to adults around the ages of 67 to ages 79). In adults, however, anisometropia is more likely to develop from other causes such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy. While some treatments for children will work for adults, the results may be less dramatic, or will not address the underlying cause of the condition in the first place.

    Do you suffer from a vision imbalance? Has your child been to an optometrist in the last year? Contact Silverstein Eye Centers today at (816) 358-3600 or request your appointment online. We can serve you at our convenient location in Independence/Kansas City.

    Posted January 12, 2016 by Silverstein Eye Centers
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