(Tropia; Crossed Eyes)
by Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RD
Strabismus is a problem with the alignment of the eyes. One or both of the eyes are turned in, out, up, or down. Strabismus is most common in children but may occur in adults. It can lead to permanent vision loss if it is not detected and treated in a timely manner.
There are two types:
Strabismus is caused by a lack of coordination between the muscles in the eyes. This can happen due to:
Risk Factors TOP
Factors that increase your risk for strabismus include having:
Symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You should also have an eye exam by an ophthalmologist. This specialist will test your eyesight and look for other potential eye problems. You may also be given a neurologic exam and other tests to rule out other possible causes.
Treatment may include:
Glasses or contact lenses may be prescribed. They can improve your ability to focus and help overcome poor vision. With better eyesight, strabismus may improve. For some conditions, special prism lenses can be placed in the glasses. The prism will help to reduce double vision that may occur.
In children, an eye that is not properly aligned may not mature properly. If this is not corrected, permanent visual loss can occur. In some cases, a patch is applied over the good eye. This forces the child to fixate and use the affected eye. This will help the visual development in that eye. The length of time the patch is worn depends on the severity of the condition and the age of the child.
Eye drops or ointment may be put in the good eye to temporarily blur the vision. This also forces the affected eye to fixate properly. These drops may be used as a substitute for patching.
Injections of botulinum toxin may also be used to treat strabismus. They affect the muscles surrounding the eyes.
Surgery may be used to straighten the eyes if nonsurgical means are not successful. The surgery will move some of the eye muscles into a new location. This may improve the ability of the eye muscles to keep the eyeball in its proper place.
There is no known way to prevent strabismus. If you notice that you or your child’s eyes are not properly aligned, visit your eye doctor immediately.
National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health
Canadian Association of Optometrists
Canadian Health Network
Strabismus. American Academy of Ophthalmology EyeSmart website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/strabismus.cfm. Accessed December 28, 2012.
Strabismus. American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus website. Available at: http://www.aapos.org/terms/conditions/100. Accessed December 28, 2012.
Strabismus. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated November 21, 2012. Accessed December 28, 2012.
Strabismus. Nemours KidsHealth website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/eyes/strabismus.html. Accessed December 28, 2012.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 11/26/2012