Will A Justin Bieber Haircut Cause Lazy Eye?

Dr. Patty was very depressed to read a report that the Justin Bieber style haircut he was contemplating may result in lazy eye.  I thought Dr. Patty would look great with fringe bangs and so before he gave up on his dream of emulating the pop sensation, I thought the Eye Mythbusters should take up the case.

An Australian optometrist in Australia by the name of Andrew Hogan, has recently made news by warning that wearing long bangs over one eye like the popular teen heart throb Justin Bieber could lead to lazy eye.  In an article in the Daily Telegraph, Andrew Hogan stated, “If a young emo chap has a fringe covering one eye all the time, that eye won’t see a lot of detail, and if it happens from a young age the eye can become amblyopic.”

The technical term for lazy eye is amblyopia.  Amblyopia is a developmental problem that results when the brain does not receive the proper visual stimulation.  As a result of insufficient visual stimulation, the part of the brain responsible for the perception of vision does not develop to its full potential.  There are three reasons why the brain may not receive proper visual stimulation and result in amblyopia.

First, one eye may have a high glasses prescriptions that is uncorrected by glasses and so the brain does not receive the proper high quality image necessary for optimum development.  This is termed refractive amblyopia.  Second, one eye may be turned out or in and so the brain ignores that image in order to prevent double vision.  We call this strabismic amblyopia because strabismus is the term for a misaligned eye.  Third, the image to the eye may be blocked by something, typically a cataract, and thus the brain would not see out of that eye.  This condition is termed depravation amblyopia.

We fix the problem by correcting the glasses prescription, surgically aligning the eye, or removing the obstruction depending on the reason for the amblyopia.  Sometimes even this is not good enough and we have to treat the amblyopia by blurring the better eye and forcing the amblyopic eye to work harder.  The better eye can be blurred by using a patch or by a dilating eye drop.

The worry with Justin Beiber style hair is that the eye will not receive the proper visual information and result in amblyopia similar to a person with depravation amblyopia.  However, it is unlikely that this will happen since the person would already have a well developed visual system by the time the person grew their fringe style bangs.  The only possible way that the Beiber hairstyle could result in amblyopia is if the person had the long bangs fully obstructing their vision as an infant.

Conclusion: Myth Busted

There is no need for Dr. Patty or anyone else to worry that Justin Bieber bangs will result in lazy eye.  It may be a poor fashion choice, but it will not harm your eyes.

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