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Eye Information

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What is Strabismus?
Strabismus is the medical term of an eye disorder of when the eyes are focusing they are not lined up together looking in the same direction. People know this condition more commonly as crossed eyes.

Other Names Strabismus is known by are?
Exotropia, Esotropia, Walleye, Squint

What are the Causes of Strabismus?
Strabismus – the lacking of coordination between the eyes. The lack of coordination results in the eyes looking in different direction than the other and they do not focus at a single point the same time.

Children and strabismus – In most cases, the cause is unknown. In more than ½ child strabismus cases the problem of “crossed eyes” is present when a child is born or shortly there after. The medical term for this condition is congenital strabismus.

In children, it is important to correct this early in life. If not corrected early it may cause permanent damage. When a child’s two eyes fail to line up and focus on the same object, the brain may literally learn to ignore what one of the eyes is seeing, shutting it down. If this continues for an extended amount time, the eye the brain “shuts down” will never see well or maybe not at all.

Other disorders strabismus is associated with in children are:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Apert syndrome
  • Hemangioma near the eye during infancy
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Retinopathy of prematurity
  • Congenital rubella
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Noonan syndrome
  • Trisomy 18
  • Incontinentia pigmenti syndrome
  • Prader-Willi syndrome

Adults developing strabismus may be caused by:

  • Diabetes (acquired paralytic strabismus)
  • Injuries to the eyeball
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Botulism
  • Shellfish poisoning
  • Any eye injury or disease causing vision loss

If there is family history of strabismus then there is a risk it could be inherited and pass down through the family. A contributing factor may be farsightedness . Another cause of strabismus could be from any disease that causes a loss of vision.
Strabismus Symptoms

  • Double vision
  • Crossed eyes
  • Eyes having uncoordinated movements (eyes not moving together)
  • Eyes not lining up in the same direction
  • Loss of vision in one eye – Including depth perception loss (ability to see in 3-D)

Examinations and Tests for Strabismus
An examination will include a detailed eye examination. The tests done are to determine the strength and weakness of the eye muscles.
The eye tests include:

  • Visual acuity
  • Retinal exam
  • Standard ophthalmic exam

A neurological examination will also be performed.
Treatment for Strabismus
Treatment for strabismus involves a program to strengthen any weakened muscles and bring the eyes back into alignment. An eye doctor may prescribe eyeglasses and vision therapy consisting of eye muscle exercises.
If the eye condition is caused by what is known as lazy eye, the eye doctor may feel an eye patch is needed. Surgery may be needed for some children to reverse the condition.

Outlook and Prognosis for Strabismus
If there is early diagnosis and an early treatment program is applied, the problem can normally be corrected. If treatment is delayed it may lead to a permanent loss of vision in one eye.

When Should a Medical Professional Be Contacted?
Strabismus is a condition that requires a medical evaluation early in the condition. If a child appears to be “crossed eyed” or has difficulty seeing or complains of having double vision, a qualified medical professional should be seen for an assessment and an appropriate treatment program if necessary. It is also important to note that strabismus can lead to learning difficulties or problems seeing the blackboard or interfere with a child’s ability to read.

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