Skip to content

    Eye Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Eye Health and Strabismus

    Strabismus, also known as crossed eyes or wall eyes, is a condition in which the eyes are not aligned (they don't look towards an object together). One of the eyes may look in or out, or turn up or down. The eye turning away can occur all of the time or only sometimes, such as during stressful situations or illness.

    Recommended Related to Eye Health

    Eyeglasses That Do the Job

    Have you been wearing the same pair of eyeglasses every day for work, sports, hobbies, driving, reading, and/or watching TV? If so, you may not be getting all the vision help glasses can offer. Here's where you can learn about the different types of lenses available in eyeglasses for various lifestyle activities.

    Read the Eyeglasses That Do the Job article > >

    What Causes Strabismus?

    Some people are born with eyes that do not align in the usual way. This is called congenital strabismus. In many children, there is no clear cause of strabismus. In some cases, it is a result of a problem with the nervous system, especially the part that controls the muscles of the eyes. It may be due to a tumor or disorder in the infant eye. If it is not corrected, strabismus can continue into the adult years. Most adults who have strabismus were born with it.

    If strabismus does not appear until later in life, it will cause double vision. If the eyes become misaligned in an adult who did not have strabismus as a child, it could be a sign of a serious condition such as a stroke. A sudden misalignment of the eyes, or double vision, are important reasons to see a doctor immediately.

    Young children have the ability to suppress vision in a misaligned eye, thereby avoiding the symptom of double vision. However, that may lead to an eye becoming amblyopic or "lazy." Depth perception and peripheral vision (vision off to the side) may be affected. Eyestrain and headaches can occur. When misalignment of the eyes first occurs at an older age, a person may turn his or her head in unusual ways in order to see in certain directions and avoid double vision.

    How Is Strabismus Treated?

    If strabismus is suspected, a pediatric ophthalmologist should be consulted. Non-surgical treatment may be initially recommended, with the main goal to assure that neither eye becomes amblyopic (lazy) and if that tendency is present, to prescribe optimal eyeglasses and force the use of the lazy eye (with a patch or other measures) until normal vision is established. In some cases, the misalignment of the eyes is caused by excessive farsightedness and eyeglasses may solve the strabismus without eye muscle surgery. The main goal of vision therapy (including optical devices) is assuring that a lazy eye gets visually exercised before the child reaches the age of 8 or so and permanent visual loss occurs. Amblyopia (lazy eye) must be treated in childhood to avoid permanent visual loss.

    Today on WebMD

    Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
    Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    eye
    Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
     
    red eyes
    Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
    blue eye with contact lens
    Tips for wearing and caring.
     
    Understanding Stye
    Article
    human eye
    Article
     
    eye
    Video
    eye exam timing
    Video
     
    vision test
    Tool
    is vision correction surgery for you
    Article
     
    high tech contacts
    Article
    eye drop
    Article