Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Eye Health Center

Font Size

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

What’s Irritating My Eyes?

Dry weather and other things can wreak havoc on your eyes. When they’re bothering you, it’s important to find relief quickly. Here are some things that might be bothering your eyes, plus ways to fix them. And if these tips don’t help, check with your doctor.

Read the What’s Irritating My Eyes? 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.
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
human eye
eye exam timing
vision test
is vision correction surgery for you
high tech contacts
eye drop