Strabismus is a vision condition in which a person cannot align both eyes simultaneously under normal conditions.
One or both of the eyes may turn in “cross eyed” (esotropia), out “wall eyed” (exotropia), up (hypertropia) or down (hypotropia).
An eye turn may be constant (when the eye turns all of the time) or intermittent (turning only some of the time, such as under stressful conditions or when ill). Whether constant or intermittent, Strabismus always requires appropriate evaluation and treatment.
The causes most often develop in infants and young children, although it can occur in adults. It is estimated that up to 5 percent of all children have some type or degree of Strabismus.
In most cases the problem does not improve on its own as the child grows. Treatment varies depending on the cause of the eye-turning and may include:
Vision Therapy (Non-surgical approach)
Eye muscle surgery
Vision Therapy can in some instances correct the Strabismus muscle. Surgery can sometimes straighten the eyes and a program of Vision Therapy is often necessary to restore full visual functions.
Click here for more information about Children with Special Needs and Strabismus
For Success Stories related to Strabismus, go to Vision Therapy Stories, Strabismus and Vision Therapy Stories, Lazy Eye
Strabismus may be caused by:
Inadequate development of eye coordination in childhood
Excessive Farsightedness (hyperopia) or differences between the vision in each eye
Problems with the eye muscles that control eye movement
Head trauma, stroke, or other general health problems
One of many reasons why infants/ children/adults should have a comprehensive eye exam with a Developmental Optometrist is the possibility of Amblyopia.
Amblyopia (often misnamed “lazy eye”), is a condition where one eye does not see nearly as well as the other. This condition is not correctable by glasses or contact lenses. Amblyopia is not due to any eye disease. The brain does not fully acknowledge the images seen by the Amblyopic eye. The favored eye compensates for the Amblyopic eye so the child/adult may not be aware of the problem. This may lead to other dysfunctions such as poor depth perception (3D).
An infant/child can look perfectly normal, even if one eye is really very Amblyopic. Treatment is often delayed because the parents think that the child is fine and that there is no reason to see a Developmental Optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam. As a consequence, the child or adult may be more difficult to treat and correct in later stages.
Anything that interferes with clear vision in either eye during the early years (birth to 6 years of age) can cause Amblyopia. Listed below are reasons why Amblyopia can develop in childhood:
Misaligned eyes or constant Strabismus
Significant differences between the clearness of the images seen by each eye due to farsightedness, nearsightedness or Astigmatism
An obstruction of vision within one eye due to injury or disease
Early treatment is usually simple, often employing glasses and patching. Patching the preferred eye is a common starting point for treating amblyopia, but to solidify the gains made by patching, and to make sure the amblyopic eye will not being ignored ( or suppressed) when both eyes are working, a vision therapy program is required.
While detection and correction before the age of two is considered to offer the best outcomes, recent scientific research has disproven the long held belief that children over seven years old cannot be successfully treated. For more information, see the
press release at National Institutes of Health -- National Eye Institute.
Amblyopia causes more visual loss in the under 40 group than all the injuries and diseases combined in this age group.