What You Should Know About Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)
By Walter Choate on January 17, 2014
There are many different kinds of eye conditions that can affect your overall appearance as well as the quality of your vision. One such condition is strabismus, which you may know by terms such as "lazy eye" and "crossed eyes."
As common as the colloquial terms for strabismus are, few people actually understand what strabismus involves, what causes it, and how the treatments for strabismus work. These matters can all be addressed when you meet and discuss the issue with our optometrists. That said, we do want to use this space to go over the basics of strabismus so you have a decent understanding of the matter.
Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes of the patient are not in proper alignment, making one eye seem lazy or crossed. The misalignment of the eyes can be quite pronounced when a person looks up, down, to the side, or at an angle.
Types of Strabismus
There are three types of strabismus:
- Esotropia - The most common type of strabismus, this refers to cases in which one eye turns inward toward the nose
- Exotropia - Also known as walleye, this type of strabismus refers to cases in which one eye turns outward toward the corner of the eye
- Hypertropia - A less common type of strabismus, this refers to instances in which an eye is pointed upwards toward the forehead
Causes of Strabismus
The most common cause of strabismus is weak muscles of the lazy eye. When an eye is weaker, there may be a tendency for the more dominant eye to become stronger. Like a number of eye diseases, strabismus runs in families, so there is a higher chance of suffering from strabismus if a family member also had the condition.
Signs and Symptoms of Strabismus
The most common sign of strabismus is the misalignment of the eyes, which can be readily detectable when a patient moves his or her eyes. Usually this can be noticed at an early age even without an eye exam.
Sometimes the strabismus is much more subtle and the eye misalignment is difficult to detect. In these cases, the strabismus is responsible for eyestrain, eye aches, eye fatigue, and headaches. Proper detection will come from regular eye exams.
Treatment Options for Strabismus
When it comes to treating strabismus, there are a few options to consider. Corrective lenses may be used to help revise the vision of the patient and help realign the two eyes in the process.
When caught early, many times doctor will work on strengthening the less dominant eye so that the eyes become aligned. This can be achieved by using mediation to weaken the dominant eye. The weaker eye will then have to work its muscles to achieve optimal vision, making it stronger in the process. The dominant eye can also be covered by an eye patch so that the weaker eye can become stronger.
If a patient does not respond well to the use of corrective lenses, eye patches, or eye medication, it is then possible for surgery to be considered. It's ideal for more conservative treatments to be used first.
Learn More About Your Options for Eye Care
If you would like to learn more about strabismus as well as your many other options available for advanced eye care treatment, be sure to contact our eye care center serving the Nashville area today. The entire team here looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve the best possible vision and as well as optimal eye health.
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“I am very pleased with the attention I received at Choate Eye Associates. Dr. Choate is very thorough and does a wonderful job of explaining what he is doing and what he is looking for in the exam.” Dianal - Comprehensive Eye Care Patient