Strabismus Understand the specifics of eye muscle movement

You use your eyes every day – to drive, to dial a phone number, and even to read the words of this screen. Our eyes help us navigate the world with ease and peace of mind.

However, when our eyes are weakened, either from trauma or genetic reasons, the muscles in our eyes become compromised and lower our ability to see the world around us clearly. Our team of ophthalmologists at Yavitz Eye Center are dedicated to keeping your eyes strong.

What is strabismus?

Strabismus is a visual problem that causes a misalignment of the eyes, making it hard for both eyes to focus on the same object at the same time.

With this condition, one eye may look straight ahead, while the other eye turns inward (esotropia), outward (exotropia), upward (hypertropia), or downward (hypotropia). With strabismus, the eye turn may be intermittent, constant, or alternate between the left and right eye.

How does strabismus affect adults and children?

Strabismus affects adults and children different. In children, the symptoms are often mild and can be hard to detect. Often, the child's eye may turn intermittently (ex: when he/she is tired or angling their head a certain way). The degree of eye turn may be so great that it is readily noticeable, or slight enough that parents may fail to recognize there's a problem.

In adults, the effects may be more severe. Strabismus causes adults to lose their binocular vision which can cause double vision, loss of depth perception, headaches, and eye strain.

What are my treatment options?

Strabismus treatment may include one or more of the following:
  • Eyeglasses
  • Eye drops
  • Surgery to straighten the eyes
  • Eye exercises
  • Eye patch over the strong eye (if amblyopia is present) to improve the weak eye

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there different types of strabismus?
Strabismus, in which the misaligned eye turns in or out, is divided into four categories:
  • Esotropia ("crossed" eye) – Eye turns in towards the nose
  • Exotropia ("wandering" eye) – Eye turns out away from the nose
  • Hypertropia – Eye turns higher than the other
  • Hypotropia – Eye turns lower than the other eye
With strabismus, the eye turn may be intermittent, constant, or alternate between the left and right eye.