December 8, 2015

Strabismus

Strabismus, or "crossed eyes", is the inability to properly team and align both eyes together. This results in an eye that will appear to wander out of alignment, which in turn has a significant impact on an individual's functional vision. One eye may appear to turn in (esotropia), out (exotropia), up (hypertropia), or down (hypotropia). The eye turn may occur constantly or only intermittently. Eye-turning may change from one eye to the other, and may only appear when a person is tired or has done a lot of reading. Strabismus may cause double vision. To avoid seeing double, vision in one eye may be ignored resulting in a "lazy eye" (amblyopia).

One approach to try to correct strabismus is eye muscle surgery, which results in the cosmetic realignment of the eyes after one or multiple operations. While these surgeries aim to make the eyes appear realigned, the brain has not learned how to properly team the eyes so that they work together. As a result, the brain will continue to suppress the visual input from one eye, therefore, the individual will still experience poor depth perception.

Crossed eyes most often develop in infants and young children, although it can occur in adults. This may also be caused by:

  • Inadequate development of eye coordination in childhood
  • Excessive farsightedness (hyperopia) or differences between the vision in each eye
  • Head trauma, stroke, or other general health problems

Our treatment approach for addressing strabismus allows patients with this condition to achieve binocular vision, including the ability to perceive depth.