Strabismus Q & A

What is strabismus?

Strabismus, also referred to as cross-eyed, is an eye condition in which your eyes can’t look at the same place at the same time. Your brain is responsible for controlling eye movement and strabismus may develop if your brain can’t properly communicate with your eye muscles to coordinate movement.

In most cases, strabismus develops between birth and age 3. Though researchers are still investigating what causes the eye condition, your child may be at risk if they were pre-mature or have a disorder that affects the brain, such as cerebral palsy or hydrocephalus.

Older children and adults may also develop strabismus after an injury or illness. Cataracts may also lead to strabismus in adults. 

What are the symptoms of strabismus?

Eyes that drift inward or outward are the most common symptoms of strabismus. The eye condition is classified based on the direction the eye drifts and includes:

  • Esotropia: inward turning

  • Exotropia: outward turning

  • Hypertropia: upward turning

  • Hypotropia: downward turning

Strabismus is further classified based on the frequency of the misalignment and whether it affects one or both eyes. 

Many people believe strabismus improves with time. However, this belief is untrue. In fact, strabismus tends to worsen when left untreated and can lead to permanent vision changes. Dr. Kirschen recommends an eye exam for a child of any age who exhibits symptoms of strabismus.

How is strabismus diagnosed?

Dr. Kirschen conducts a comprehensive eye exam to diagnose strabismus. During the exam, he asks detailed questions about your vision and eye health history, family history, medical history, and symptoms. He then performs a number of tests to assess visual acuity, eye movement and function, and eye health. 

Based on the information gathered during the comprehensive eye exam, Dr. Kirschen provides the most accurate diagnosis. 

How is strabismus treated?

Dr. Kirschen develops individualized treatment plans for strabismus based on the severity of misalignment, vision needs, age, and lifestyle. The goal of treatment is to improve alignment, prevent vision loss and to develop binocular vision. Treatment may include:

  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses

  • Prism lenses

  • Eye exercises

  • Eye drops

  • Eye patching

In some cases, surgery is recommended to straighten the eyes. 

To schedule a strabismus evaluation with an expert in strabismus, call Customized Vision Care or request an appointment online today.