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What Is Strabismus?

What Is Strabismus?

You’ll probably recognize this disorder by its more common name.

Strabismus may not sound familiar, but the term ‘crossed eyes’ probably does. This eye disorder affects about 2-4% of the population and occurs primarily (although not exclusively) in young children, making it a condition that all parents should be aware of. Learn the basics about the causes, symptoms and treatments for strabismus below.

Strabismus: An Overview
Strabismus is the misalignment of one of the eyes from its natural position. This abnormality causes the eyes to appear unfocused even when the individual is looking right at something. The muscles in the eyes normally coordinate to keep them both in sync, but when these muscles aren’t functioning properly, one eye tends to deviate from the other.

There are many different causes of strabismus, some of which being particular to certain age groups. For children, the leading causes are heredity, refractive errors, and cerebral palsy. For adults, the leading causes are stroke, diabetes, and brain tumors. Essentially, any disorder that can affect the function of the muscles that help keep the eyes in their normal positions can be a cause of strabismus.

As you may know from experience, strabismus is an extremely visible disorder that’s hard to miss. Someone with strabismus has one eye that veers off from the other eye. The misaligned eye is directed either inward (esotropia), outward (exotropia), upward (hypertropia), or downward (hypotropia). This misalignment is involuntary, as the person is unable to control the eye muscles to achieve a normal eye position.

Knowing the cause of a particular case of strabismus is crucial for choosing the right treatment option. If a refractive error is at fault, then prescription glasses can solve the issue. For adults in which the condition is already well-established, then surgically shifting the eye muscles may be the only recourse. Other treatment options include eye exercises for mild cases as well as injections to stimulate the eye muscles for a temporary period of time.

A variety of unpleasant conditions – such as blurred vision, lazy eye, and low confidence – can develop when strabismus is left untreated. Children beyond the age of 3 months should be taken to an eye doctor if they exhibit symptoms of strabismus, and adults can pursue correction through surgery. In either case, Sterling Vision is here to help. To schedule an appointment with us, call 541-262-0597 or schedule online.