Strabismus is an eye condition commonly referred to as cross-eyes, typically occurring in early childhood. Physical trauma to your head or eyes can also cause strabismus. Patients with this eye condition cannot align both of their eyes to focus on the same object.
Strabismus is caused when the six muscles around your eye are not working in unison. This results in the brain receiving a different image from each eye. This causes your brain to be confused, so it chooses to focus on and process the images from only one of your eyes.
If strabismus is not treated, the eye that is ignored by your brain will weaken over time, leading to permanent damage to your vision. When this happens it is diagnosed as Amblyopia (lazy eye).
Those with strabismus may experience symptoms intermittently or all the time. Typical symptoms include:
- Eyes that are not looking in the same direction
- Uncoordinated eye movements separate of each other
- Loss of vision
- Double vision
- Eye strain
- Eye fatigue
If left untreated, permanent decreased vision occurs to the eye that is being ignored.
Since strabismus typically presents in early childhood, the first form of treatment is eyeglasses for the affected child. Depending on severity and frequency, vision therapy may also be used to treat strabismus and strengthen the eye muscles. In addition to this, sometimes patching therapy is needed to train the brain to use the weaker eye by patching the better eye. It is a great non-invasive option for young patients.
For those experiencing a more severe case of strabismus (constant eye turn), there is an option for eye muscle surgery to repair the affected muscles.