“Crossed Eye” (Strabismus)
Strabismus, or crossed eyes, as it is medically termed, is a condition in which both eyes do not look at the same place at the same time.
Strabismus is usually caused by poor eye muscle control or a high amount of farsightedness.
There are six muscles attached to each eye that control how it moves. The muscles receive signals from the brain that direct their movements. Normally, the eyes work together so they both point at the same place. When problems develop with eye movement control, an eye may turn in, out, up or down.
The eye turning may be evident all the time or may appear only at certain times such as when the person is tired, ill, or has done a lot of reading or close work. In some cases, the same eye may turn each time, while in other cases, the eyes may alternate turning.
Maintaining proper eye alignment is important to avoid seeing double, for good depth perception, and to prevent the development of poor vision in the turned eye. When the eyes are misaligned, the brain receives two different images. At first, this may create double vision and confusion, but over time the brain will learn to ignore the image from the turned eye. If the eye turning becomes constant and is not treated, it can lead to permanent reduction of vision in one eye, a condition called amblyopia or lazy eye.
Some babies’ eyes may appear to be misaligned, but are actually both aiming at the same object. This is a condition called pseudo strabismus or false strabismus. The appearance of crossed eyes may be due to extra skin that covers the inner corner of the eyes, or a wide bridge of the nose. Usually, this will change as the child’s face begins to grow.
Strabismus usually develops in infants and young children, most often by age 3, but older children and adults can also develop the condition. There is a common misconception that a child with strabismus will outgrow the condition. However, this is not true. In fact, strabismus may get worse without treatment. Any child older than four months whose eyes do not appear to be straight all the time should be examined.
Strabismus is classified by the direction the eye turns:
Other classifications of strabismus include:
Treatment for strabismus may include eyeglasses, prisms, vision therapy, or eye muscle surgery. If detected and treated early, strabismus can often be corrected with excellent results.
Family Eye Care Center can diagnose Strabismus / Crossed Eyes with a comprehensive eye examination. Regular eye health examinations are important to help identify Strabismus and other conditions affecting vision and eye health, as well as changes that can occur without warning signs. Let Dr. Craig help you maintain the best vision possible. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call Family Eye Care Center at (304) 636-9111.
Much of the educational information provided on this page has been adapted with permission from copyrighted resources provided courtesy of American Optometric Association (AOA) for use by its members. AOA is the leading authority on quality eye health and vision care, representing doctors of optometry and optometric professionals throughout the United States.
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