Crossed Eyes

Strabismus - Definition

More commonly referred to as crossed eyes, strabismus refers to an ocular condition in which the eyes are not aligned correctly and point in different directions. In such cases, one eye may look straight ahead while the other turns inwards, outwards, upwards or downwards. This is a result of a lack of coordination between the eye muscles.

Strabismus - Risk Factors

Children under the age of 6 years old are most likely to develop strabismus, with this eye condition developing in their first 2 years. Other risk factors for developing crossed eyes include:

  • Family history of strabismus
  • Brain injury/Brain tumor
  • Damaged retina
  • Diabetes
  • Lazy eye

Strabismus - Symptoms

The symptoms of strabismus are those signs which may be observed by the affected individual, parents or others. The most obvious aspect is crossed eyes - when the eyes appear to be pointing in different directions. Other symptoms include:

  • Eyes that do not move together
  • Tilting the head to one side
  • Inability to gauge depth
  • Squinting with only one eye

Strabismus - Diagnosis

Strabismus can be very difficult to detect in children, particularly if the size of the turn is small and not very noticeable. That is why a comprehensive eye examination is necessary to detect the early signs of strabismus and prevent potential vision loss.

We recommend that infants have their first eye examination at six months, followed by yearly checkups after the age of three.

Strabismus - Treatment Options

Strabismus treatment aims to improve the alignment of the eyes and to correct the resulting vision loss. It can be treated with any one or a combination of the following treatments, depending on the severity of symptoms:

  • Prescription Eye-wear/Contact Lenses - For patients who have crossed eyes due to uncorrected farsightedness
  • Injected medication - This relaxes the muscles in the eyes, making it easier for them to focus as they should.
  • Eye surgery - This aims to straighten out and realign the weakened eye muscles. It has an extremely high success rate.
  • Eye patch - By wearing an eye patch over the more dominant eye, the muscles in the weaker eye will be forced to strengthen.

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