Strabismus is a condition that occurs when your eyes are misaligned. It’s common in children, but it’s also a problem for many adults in Southaven. Strabismus is estimated to affect about 5% of children and 4% of all people in the U.S. Childhood strabismus often leads to amblyopia, which is the leading cause of vision loss in children.
Strabismus is caused by a defect in the functionality of one of more of the eye’s six external muscles. These malfunctions are usually due to anatomical or neurological problems, and they can be genetic.
Categories of Strabismus
Strabismus can be a constant or intermittent condition. Constant strabismus means your eyes are always misaligned, while intermittent strabismus conditions only occur on occasion.
The condition can also be unilateral strabismus, meaning it only affects one eye, or alternating if it affects both. If a patient has alternating strabismus, the eyes take turns being out of alignment.
Strabismus can be mild or severe. Mild cases of the condition are called small-angle strabismus. These cases are actually more likely to cause symptoms like eyestrain and headaches because both eyes continue trying to see, creating vision problems. Larger and more noticeable eye turns are called large-angle strabismus. In these cases, the brain will turn off one eye, which results in fewer symptoms. These cases must be treated early to prevent vision loss from amblyopia.
Types of Strabismus
When you have strabismus, one eye looks directly at an object while the other looks in a different direction. There are four main types of strabismus depending on the directionality of the other eye.
- Esotropia—when the eye goes inward; “cross-eyed”
- Exotropia—when the eye goes outward; “wall-eyed”
- Hypertropia—when the eye goes upward
- Hypotropia—when the eye goes downward
Most cases of strabismus are treated through surgery to fix the eye’s malfunctioning muscles. If this is the best approach for your strabismus, we’ll refer you to a surgical ophthalmologist in order to plan for the procedure. After surgery, you may need to visit us for vision therapy, which will help you learn how to correctly control your eye muscles and achieve normal vision.
A few cases of intermittent, small-angle strabismus can be treated non-surgically through vision therapy or orthoptics. Vision therapy helps you retrain your entire vision system, while orthoptics works specifically to train the problematic eye muscles.
In order to get a successful diagnosis and treatment plan, you need to schedule an exam at our Southaven office. We’ll offer you a full explanation of your or your child’s strabismus and explain the most beneficial treatment plan for your individual case.