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Strabismus (Cross Eyed)

Strabismus is the name given to the condition where both eyes fail to maintain proper alignment and work together.  The alignment can be misaligned inward or outward.

If you have esotropia, one eye will look at the object while the other eye will be misaligned inward. If you suffer from exotropia, one eye will look at the object while the other eye will be misaligned outwards.

Causes and Symptoms of Strabismus

Each eye has external muscles that control the eye position and movement.  Strabismus occurs when there is a neurological or anatomical issue that interferes with the control and function of the muscles that control the eyes.  The problem can be from the muscles, the nerves or the vision centers in the brain.  

There is also a chance that genetics play a role.  If one or more parent has strabismus, there is a high chance that their children will also suffer from strabismus.

Signs & Symptoms

The most noticeable sign that someone is suffering from strabismus is the misalignment of the eyes.  There are two forms of misalignment: “large-angle” or “small-angle”.  The “large” or “small” in the name refers to the deviation between the line of sight of the straight eye and the misaligned eye.  

If one is suffering from large-angle strabismus, there are very little symptoms because there is no attempt by the brain to try and correct and straighten the eyes.  This form usually causes severe amblyopia or “lazy-eye” if left untreated.  

The less noticeable case of strabismus is called the small-angle strabismus, which is less likely to cause a disruption in vision.  

Symptoms such as headaches, eye strain, and discomfort reading or doing other tasks that require up close attention are common with strabismus.

Treating Strabismus

In most cases of strabismus, the only way to correct it is through surgery.  Although surgery can correct how the eye functions and its alignment, if there is damage in the form of amblyopia the surgery may not able to correct that fully.  

The earlier the eye is treated the better chance the eye has to grow and develop normally, and will get the eyes working together as a team restoring vision.

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