Strabismus, or crossed eyes, is an eye condition where both eyes do not look at the same place at the same time. It often occurs in people who have poor eye muscle control or are farsighted. There are six muscles that attach to each eye; these control how the eye moves. Normally, the muscles receive signals from the brain to direct the movements, so each eye look at the same place. With strabismus, the eyes lose movement control. The eye turning could happen constantly or only when the person is sick, tired, or has done a lot of reading. Proper eye alignment is important for good depth perception and avoids poor vision in the eyes. If left untreated, this condition could lead to permanently reduced vision in one eye. The Boston Vision team can help to diagnose this condition and find proper treatment to help patients begin seeing correctly again.
Depending on which way the eye turns, it is referred to differently. The various types of strabismus are:
- Outward Turning- Exotropia
- Inward Turning- Esotropia
- Upward Turning- Hypertropia
- Downward Turning- Hypotropia
Strabismus can be caused by a few factors. It can be caused by problems with the eye muscles, nerves in the muscles, or the part of the brain that directs eye movements. It can also occur due to eye injuries and other health conditions. You could be at risk for strabismus if you have a family history of this condition, uncorrected farsightedness, or certain conditions like down syndrome, cerebral palsy, brain tumors, seizures, and more.
During a routine eye examination with your Boston Vision doctor, we can diagnose strabismus. Testing for strabismus includes looking over patient history, testing visual acuity, alignment and focusing testing, and a general examination of eye health. Once this eye condition is diagnosed, we can begin to find the right treatment to help correct this.
There are several treatment options available for those who have strabismus. Some people will be able to fix this eye condition with glasses or contact lenses. Other people may use prism lenses which are thicker on one side than the other. These alter the light entering the eye and reduce how much turning the eye must do to view objects. If your condition is more severe, you can undergo vision therapy or eye muscle surgery. Vision therapy includes a program of vision activities to improve eye coordination and focus. It trains the eyes and brain to work together more effectively. Eye muscle surgery can position the muscles around the eye to appear straight.
If you have strabismus, come to Boston Vision to get a proper diagnosis and treatment started. If left untreated, this could lead to permanent vision damage in the eyes. If your strabismus requires surgery, you likely will be referred to an adult or pediatric strabismus specialist.