December 22 21:46 2019 Print This Article

Strabismus, more commonly known as cross-eyed or wall-eyed, is a vision condition in which a person can not align both eyes simultaneously under normal conditions. In short, the eyes are “crooked”. Strabismus is not only important from the standpoint of amblyopia, however. Strabismus occurs in approximately 2% of children under 3 years of age and about 3% of children and young adults. Strabismus or squint/crossed eyes, occurs when there is a misalignment or lack of co-ordination between the two eyes.

It typically involves a lack of coordination between the extraocular muscles which prevents bringing the gaze of each eye to the same point in space, preventing proper binocular vision, which may adversely affect depth perception. It is also important for other functional and cosmetic reasons. It is usually diagnosed in childhood, but can also occur later in life. Strabismus is associated with reduction of depth perception and, if onset is in adulthood, double vision.

Strabismus occurs equally in males and females. The term is used to describe eyes that are not straight or properly aligned. An eye turn may be constant (when the eye turns all of the time) or intermittent (turning only some of the time, such as, under stressful conditions or when ill). Strabismus may run in families; however, many people with strabismus have no relatives with the problem.

Strabismus has an inherited pattern, i.e., it is much more likely to occur if one or both parents are affected. Amblyopia refers to reduced vision, uncorrectable with glasses or contact lenses, due to failure or incomplete development of the visual cortex of the brain. However, many cases occur without any family history of the disorder. Normally, each eye focuses on the same spot but sends a slightly different message to the brain. Contemporary strabismus surgical techniques involve “hidden” incisions where there is no visible scarring of the eye surface as a result of this surgery.

Causes of Strabismus

The comman causes of Strabismus include the following:

  • Strabismus is caused by a lack of coordination between the eyes. As a result, the eyes look in different directions and do not focus at the same time on a single point.
  • Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome.
  • Paretic strabismusoccurs when one muscle is weak due to innervational reasons.
  • Traumatic brain injury.
  • Hemangioma near the eye during infancy.
  • The most common cause of strabismus occurs without restriction or paresis. In these patients, the eyes can move normally in all directions.
  • Prader-Willi syndrome.
  • Trisomy 18 (a child has 3 copies of chromosome 18, instead of the normal 2 copies).
  • A family history of strabismus is a risk factor. Farsightedness may be a contributing factor.

Symptoms of Strabismus

Some sign and symptoms related to Strabismus include the following:

  • Eyes that appear crossed.
  • Eyes that do not align in the same direction.
  • Squinting or closing one eye in bright sunlight.
  • Tilting or turning the head to look at an object.
  • Blurred vision or see halos around lights.
  • Pain in the temple.
  • thick nasal drainage or pressure behind eyes.
  • Bumping into things (strabismus limits depth perception).
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Double vision (usually only when strabismus first develops).

Treatment of Strabismus

Here is list of the methods for treating Strabismus:

  • Although early treatment is important to correct strabismus, time is even more critical with amblyopia.
  • Treatment should also address amblyopia (“lazy eye”) or other vision problems to help normal vision to develop.
  • Laser photocoagulation involves little postoperative pain and swelling.
  • Surgery may be required to realign the eye muscles if strengthening techniques are unsuccessful.
  • Treatment may include glasses to correct the visual problems, and patching of the normal eye to force the brain to use the affected eye.