Strabismus: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What Is Strabismus / Turned Eye?

Affecting an estimated two percent of children globally, strabismus or tropia, is an eye condition often first noticed in infancy. The condition causes a misalignment of the eyes — wherein one eye looks straight ahead and the other eye looks upward, downward, to the left or right - thus the term "turned eye".  When both eyes turn in, it gives rise to the term "cross-eyes".

What Causes Strabismus Or Tropia?

Strabismus occurs when one or more of the six muscles around your eye don’t function in perfect coordination. This is often caused by:

  • Muscle dysfunction
  • Long-sightedness
  • Neurological problems
  • Trauma around the region of the eye, such as a fractured eye socket
  • Infections - before adequate vaccinations many children who got measles could end up with a strabismus

Genetics may play some role, as parents with strabismus have a higher of chance of having children with the same condition. 

Common Symptoms Of Strabismus

This eye condition can affect vision and cause discomfort. Some of the common symptoms include:

Besides vision-related problems, coping with strabismus can lead to issues of low self-esteem. Routine check ups by the optometrist can detect strabismus early and provide assistance in determining the best options for treatment.

  • Living with strabismus

What It Is Like To Have Strabismus?

For people with strabismus, the eyes aren’t able to focus on a single point or object. Therefore the brain cannot combine the two images produced by the eyes to form a normal 3-dimensional image.

Rather than trying to process two different images, the brain often ignores the image sent from the more misaligned eye. This is a problem because the eyes are meant to work together for a more accurate vision. This is why people suffering from strabismus often have issues with depth perception which can then impact on their coordination skills for example judging distances when ball sports etc.

How Can Strabismus Be Treated?

Strabismus treatment aims to improve eye alignment so that your vision is improved. Treatment options are varied, but may involve glasses, vision therapy, and in some extreme cases eye muscle surgery. Esotropia or cross-eyes may be treated by simply getting the right glasses and wearing them consistently.

Vision therapy that includes corrective glasses and consistent eye exercises, is very helpful in correcting cross eyes.

To find out more about strabismus visit your nearest optometrist.

Routine exams can detect strabismus early

Visit your nearest optometrist today

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