Strabismus (Misalignment of the Eyes)

Misalignment of the eyes is where one or both eyes turn in, out, up or down so that the eyes are not looking in the same place at the same time.  When the eyes are not pointing in the same direction, two separate images are sent to the brain, leading to double vision.  This is very confusing for the brain, so the brain learns to shut off (suppress) the image coming from the turned eye so that it now has only one image to process.  This suppression can lead to a lazy eye and decreased visual function of the turned eye.

Strabismus usually develops in infants and young children (3-4 years of age), but it still can occur later in life as well.

It can be caused by poor muscle control due to poor neurological transmission of signals from the brain to the muscles or problems with the eye muscles themselves.  It can also be caused by various illnesses or significant uncorrected refractive errors (usually uncorrected hyperopia).  A family history of strabismus can also lead to a higher risk of developing strabismus.

The treatment of strabismus can include prescription lenses, patching, prisms, vision therapy, and muscle surgery.  Treatment is directed at maintaining proper control and alignment of the turned eye and integrating better binocularity (eyes working more efficiently together as a team).   A comprehensive vision evaluation can determine the best treatment course.


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