Strabismus refers to any misalignment of the eyes. It can occur in children and in adults.
Esotropia: inward turning of the eyes (“crossed eyes”)
Exotropia: outward turning of the eyes (“wall-eyed”)
Hypertropia: an abnormal eye is higher than the normal eye
Hypotropia: an abnormal eye is lower than the normal eye
Eye misalignment can cause amblyopia – decreased vision in one or both eyes – because, when the eyes are oriented in different directions, the brain receives two different visual images. The brain may ignore the image from the misaligned eye to avoid double vision, resulting in poor vision development.
Causes of Strabismus
Strabismus is generally caused by an abnormality of the neuromuscular control of eye movement. Strabismus can also be a problem with the actual eye muscle. Children with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, hydrocephalus, and brain tumor are more likely to develop strabismus. Stroke or vascular problems, trauma, neurological problems, and Graves disease may cause strabismus in adults.
Treatment of Strabismus
The goal of these treatments is to improve eye alignment, allowing for the eyes to work better together.
- Eye exercises
- Eye muscle surgery
Adapted from the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus