What is Strabismus?
Strabismus is an ocular condition in which there is a misalignment of the eyes. This occurs in about 4 percent of children born in the United States. Other terms for strabismus is heterotropia, crossed-eyes, wall-eyed, and last eye. It is the result of the lack of coordination of the different eye muscles that move the eye. They are unable to fuse the vision of both eyes together to look at a single point.
The type of strabismus is determined by the direction of the misalignment and whether it is constant (tropia) or intermittent (phoria). The medical words used to describe the deviation are the following terms added to whether it is a tropia or phoria:
What Causes Strabismus?
The cause is not a well understood mechanism. There is an abnormality in the brain’s ability to coordinate the movements of the eyes together. There other causes in adults such as strokes, thyroid eye disease (Graves), diabetes, trauma, and tumors. The cranial nerves III, IV, and VI control the eye muscles.
Vision Loss with Strabismus
Vision loss from this ocular condition occurs in children. The ocular misalignment causes the brain to see two images. The brain then chooses to turn off one eye to relieve the double vision. The vision loss is called ambylopia or some people refer to it as lazy eye. In adults, they will continue to have diploplia or double vision as the adult brain is unable to ignore the second image.
The main or primary goal of treatment is to align the eyes, provide binocular single vision, clear normal vision, and the best possible depth perception. The treatment of ambylopia is also necessary if present. The treatment of ambylopia is to patch the eye with the normal vision and allow the poor to be used so that it can develop better vision. The amount of patching is determined by the severity of the ambylopia and the age of the child. Treatment of the strabismus includes:
- Prisms in the glasses
- Eye exercises
- Strabismus surgery or eye muscle surgery
Strabismus is the misalignment of the eyes. It occurs in children and adults in later life. In children, it is important to treat this ocular condition in order to improve or prevent ambylopia. Strabismus surgery cost or fees are covered by insurance.