Adult bullies, lazy eye, shopping lines, job interviews, holiday gatherings

resumeHoliday gatherings, seasonal job interviews, and Christmas shopping are here again. But what happens when a person with what is commonly referred to as a ‘lazy eye’ enters this mix? Many say adult bullies often whisper and sneer behind their backs, make crude remarks in shopping lines, turn them away without being allowed to interview for a job they know they are qualified to do, ignore them or make them the subject of jokes at social events, and intimidate them at work.

Bullying at the elementary, high school, and college level has been forefront in the news recently. But many with a turned eye report bullying throughout their lives.

I rarely use the term ‘lazy eye,’ because some whose eyes are not aligned together report that others associate ‘lazy eye’ with laziness. However, ‘lazy eye’ is medically used as a synonym for ‘amblyopia,’ which is decreased vision in one eye. Unfortunately, ‘lazy eye’ is also a frequent taunt to harass a person with a turned eye whether or not they have amblyopia.

Feel free to share your struggles and/or solutions as a person with a turned eye dealing with adult bullying or intimidation. No email addresses or private information will be shared without your permission. Our goal is to generate public awareness of how unkind remarks and unfair perceptions destroy the lives of people with turned eyes.

If you are an adult who has been inconsiderate of someone just because their eyes are not aligned, you need to know the pain your moment of fun causes for those you taunt. People are not incompetent or mentally challenged just because their eyes are not looking the same direction. Of course, people who have mental challenges deserve to be treated with dignity as well. But most people with turned eyes are competent and loyal individuals when given a chance. Please treat everyone facing a challenge as you would want to be treated if you were in their place.

For those who would like to offer media support to help foster awareness of the problem faced by those with turned eyes, you may contact me via the email address at the bottom of this page.

References:

  1. College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD)
  2. American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS)

Photo courtesy Sibaudio

62 thoughts on “Adult bullies, lazy eye, shopping lines, job interviews, holiday gatherings”

  1. Hiya.
    I’m a 16 year old girl with a lazy eye. All the times that I am anywhere, I’m just so scared I’ll be called something horrible because of it (IE, an idiot, a derp, a mistake). Now as you may already know, fans of the show My Little Pony; Friendship is Magic, otherwise known as Bronies, are an easy target; often made fun of and taunted for something we like. It always scares me I may be made fun of for what I enjoy and what my eye is like. At times when I’m down I just start calling myself horrible things, thinking they’re true. That I’m a freak, I am an idiot and always will be. It hurts, but the truth hurts, even if I’m lying to myself. Is there a way I could get help for this from anybody? It just always feels so lonely to me.. and I don’t understand this hatred from others and I.

  2. Hi Rosie, thanks for your comment! You know, I was thinking just today how hard it was to be a teenager. Those were turbulent years for me and I was not very socially adept. I sometimes wondered what was wrong with me. I was made fun of sometimes too. There will always be people who are not content with themselves so they try to hide it by bullying others. But it does get easier as you get older.

    One thing I encourage you to do now is change your self-talk. You are not validated by what others think of you. You are validated because you are a human being, unique and special, created in the image of God. Start thinking of yourself that way. You have gifts and abilities that no one else has. Sure, a hundred people may be good at the same things you are good at. But no one can do those things just the way you do. You’re one of a kind!

    In high school we were required to memorize a hundred lines of poetry. Most were assigned, but a few of those lines we could choose ourselves. One of the poems I selected was the 4 line poem “Outwitted” by Edwin Markham:
    “He drew a circle that shut me out-
    Heretic , rebel, a thing to flout.
    But love and I had the wit to win:
    We drew a circle and took him in!”

    I’m a senior citizen now, but those four lines have stuck with me all my life. I’ve “won” so many battles by drawing circles to “take in” those who would outcast me, showing them kindness, friendship and a loving spirit. That’s what they really crave, you know, to be loved and cared for. For me it is a game of challenge, or as Edwin Markham says, “the wit to win.” I made up my mind long ago that I could be kinder to those who disliked me than they could be unkind to me. It’s so fun to shower with sincere kindness (doesn’t work if you are not sincere) those who are tortured with a desire to belittle others. They often feel insecure themselves and poke fun in an effort to make themselves look better. It may take awhile, but it is so rewarding to continue showing them kindness until their teasing turns to bewilderment, and their bewilderment to friendliness. Every time I see it work, I am amazed all over again. Even in the adult world there will always be people who are not kind. But this little four liner always makes me feel great when I apply it, even in those rare cases where I am not able to break through the hard armor of those who oppose me. I know that at least I tried to help another and that is what counts.

    Hang in there, Rosie. It does get better eventually, partly because we get better as we learn to value who we really are inside. And partly because our peers begin to grow and realize that they must be civil if they are going to hold a job and be accepted in adult circles. Think of this time in your life as lessons (lessons are often very difficult, right?) to help you develop into the beautiful person you are created to be. Beauty is not outward appearance, beauty is what is in your heart. Just knowing you love “My Little Pony,” a show that promotes character and morals and kindness toward others, tells me you are lovely inside. I encourage you to discover the tremendous girl you are! If you can look for the silver lining of how these tough lessons can help you become a better person, your are eons ahead of those who thrive on taunting you. You can do this, after all you are a Bronie, and Bronies care. You can be proud of yourself for reaching out to help someone else who has not always been kind to you!

    I see the beauty you have inside,
    Lois

  3. Rosie, I also meant to invite you to join our Eyes Apart email strabismus support group at Yahoo. You’ll find others just like you who understand and care. Just click the purple Yahoo groups box at the top of this page.
    Lois

  4. I was noticing my behavior at work. Others too. Things,I previously took as normal. My was advised to see a neurologist. I always had poor vision, so maybe I needed new glasses, so I thought maybe seeing an ophthalmologist might be a first choice. I had eye surgery as a child for strabismus, so most the time my eyes seem aligned to others.

    However, it was determined by the ophthalmologist that neurologically I still had strabismus amblyopia, and diplopia. Problems with image conversion or even confusion, even symptoms like autism as difficulty in reading facial expressions or trouble reading and socializing. Trouble remembering even names, as matching faces to names. Spatial disorientation. In short, the ophthalmologist said, for you, every seeing moment is a struggle for you. Many times you are probably fearful, cautious, or avoid situations. You do not understand ‘what-is-going-on.

    This is what, I know, now, at 64. All seemingly normal to me. Thought, I was not intelligent, always ‘different’, inferior. Bullied, too. A’Big Thing’ finding love or relationships with women or anybody. My window to the world, my vision, we look at each other and who knows how they read me or me them. We are both confused. Who wants that, so they go away. Me too.

    How dreadfully over time this becomes you. Now, who am I, anyway. You even act bipolar. Some real inner you, struggling with this neurological vision problem.

    End with this simple example. I work with email. Place the email in a folder. Then later I can not remember the folder. Might be, the only way I would remember the folder is though a neurological visual translation in memory. However, I have image confusion. The visual memory of the folder is corrupted for me. I do not know. I search for patterns. Maybe here or there Maybe make it up.

    Oddly, maybe a gift, I was often told, I see things in a different and creative way. Think ‘out-of the-box’. Maybe too much of a price at the expense of life’s normal pleasures.

  5. Paul, what did your Ophthalmologist advise? Is your Ophthalmologist a pediatric surgeon? If not, you probably need to find an Ophthalmologist who does strabismus surgery on children. Most who get strabismus surgery are children these days, so adults go to pediatric surgeons for the surgery. Not all pediatric surgeons do surgery on adults, though, so you have to read their info or ask before you make the appointment. But it is possible to have the surgery, if your doctor feels it is indicated, even at your age.

    You should probably still see a neurologist if a doctor recommended that to you. Perhaps a psychologist who could look into the questions of autism or bipolar, as well as memory issues, and refer you to a psychiatrist for further workup and medication management, etc., if needed, would be helpful too. You’ve been through a lot, and having a psychologist who could work with you in therapeutic counseling may help a great deal. A psychiatrist could do that also if the psychologist refers you for medical management. You will soon be old enough for Medicare if you are not getting it already, and if you are in the US. Medicare covers mental health treatment, though I don’t think they pay as well as they do for most other things.

    Another option is a Developmental Optometrist. Most insurance, including Medicare, doesn’t pay for that, but if you can afford it, it may be worth it for you. These doctors are specifically trained in working with people who struggle with things that other people can do easily. They can provide vision therapy to attempt to try to regain visual focus. For many who have amblyopia, vision therapy can’t help gain binocular (3D) vision. But if you have diplopia, that means you are seeing the image with both eyes, and that is a good sign. A Developmental Optometrist may be able to help you gain fusion and even 3D vision so that you no longer see double. They also work with developmental skills, as the name implies. I have had vision therapy and found it helpful. I’ve also had strabismus surgery as an older adult, and it was helpful too, though I still have problems with strabismus at times.

    I recommend talk with a Developmental Optometrist first, though, because if they can help, you can possibly avoid more surgery. Or you could see both and decide which route you want to pursue. Search “find vision therapy doctor” or “find eye surgeon” in the sidebar of this site to find doctors in your area with these specialties. Your vision therapy doctor (Developmental/Behavioral Optometrist) should be certified through COVD or OEP. This assures they have had proper training in this area. Those from the link we provide are certified.

    Lastly, consider joining our Eyes Apart Strabismus Support email group at Yahoo! Just click the purple button at the top of this page. There are a lot of caring and understanding people in our group who have suffered through the struggles of strabismus! I’m not as active there as I used to be but you will find others who are. I hope you find the help you desire. Your years and experience are invaluable to others also, and you can reach out to others in the our Strabismus Support group, or here in the different posts of this site, if you feel this is something you’d like to do. Sometimes reaching out to others helps us also. If you decide to join our Yahoo support group, be sure to watch for George who was in his 60s, I believe, when he had strabismus surgery! Blessings to you on your journey, and keep us updated!

  6. I am to attend a job interview after 10 years this Monday.
    In these last 10 years, the quint in my left eye is more noticeable than it was 10 yrs back.

    The interview is for a sales position, will it affect my chances? I am not sure if it is only in my head.

  7. I’m 15 and as a girl naturally feel picked at. When I look a certain way eye goes up and to teh other way. I’ve been told I could have surgery done but that just scares me. I get bullied and I’m at the point where I can’t even explain teh condition without feeling targeted and crestfallen.

  8. Patrice, you are not alone. I encourage you to join our Eyes Apart email strabismus support group on Yahoo. Just click the purple Yahoo square in the sidebar. Share your story with the group and I’m sure others will reach out to you. The surgery is not bad but it is not always 100% successful. Most times it does help. Talk with others in the group about it. A lot there have had surgery.
    Lois

  9. I’ve lived with strabismus for as long as I can remember, very early childhood. Each new social interaction causes me to feel anxious. I work doubly hard to FORCE my right eye to look forward in order to appear “normal”. That only works for so long, and sooner or later I am asked if I am looking at the other person or…?

    You can imagine job interviews are a nightmare. It feels like I’m a child going through her first day of school and asking herself, “Do they like me? Or are they freaked out when they look at me?” I have expended huge amounts of energy to force alignment. And yes, it’s hard work! How can you focus on a conversation with someone else when you’re far too busy setting your eyes straight?

    I grew tired of the stress and sought to fix this issue. I’m on a waiting list for corrective surgery and I couldn’t be more over-the-moon. It’s happening right upon my return to school, in time for me to reinvent myself. When I graduate, I’ll be able to look at others without embarrassment. I’ll be able to begin my new career with eyes that won’t freak out potential employers! That’s priceless. You can’t imagine how I feel knowing this lifelong issue may no longer BE an issue very shortly.

  10. I’m a 15 year old girl and a soon to be sophomore in high school. I was diagnosed with strabismus around November in first grade. It felt as if o crashed into a wall because I just couldn’t believe what the doctors were saying how I could be stuck like this for the rest of my life. I cried when I got home ..my life was over …. School was terrible I got called names and even judged by a teacher and couldn’t do the talent show due to my eye problem . My left eye was also losing vision quite a bit , if left untreated I would’ve been blind but thank goodness I’m not. I got called freak, weird, ugly, useless people even said “are you looking at me?” “Is something wrong with you ” . Some relatives refused to talk to me . I felt like a let down .. Like I was a mistake . I feel this way sometimes. I’m in high school now and my confidence has plummeted throughout the years my eyes are a lot better. Every time I go out I feel as if everyone was staring at me looking at my eye. I honestly wish I wasn’t born at times..but I do plan on doing surgery . I’m scared about the risks and I know I may have to do Multiple surgeries. A lot is people think it’s just a simple problem but it affects pretty much your life. Although I have been getting better and I’m not as depressed as I used to be.

  11. Carolyn, have you joined our Eyes Apart email support list? You can talk with others who have had the surgery there. Click the purple Yahoo Groups! button in the sidebar for more info.
    Lois

  12. Rosy, I am glad your eyes are getting better and because of this you feel better about it too. It sounds like a good sign that they are improving on their own. Vision therapy is another alternative that might help. It is not usually covered by insurance though so may not be affordable to you. But I suggest you search for a doctor who does vision therapy (see “find vision therapy dr.” in our sidebar.) some doctors allow you to do the therapy at home after a few sessions in their office. You would have to purchase the software to do it but that is much less expensive than extended therapy in their office. It also provides an opportunity to do the therapy daily. If you are interested in doing vision therapy it is best to do it before surgery. If it works you may not need the surgery. Surgery can make it more difficult for the therapy to work also. Hope all goes well whichever treatment you decide upon.
    Lois

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