What You Need to Know About Crossed Eyes (Strabismus)
About 13 million people suffer from strabismus in the US. It can be observed in up to 5% of children. That is why it is so important to get you and your family’s eyes checked annually. Our eye doctor at The Eye Care Center Limited in Addison and Burbank provides patients thorough examinations and offers quality treatment to those suffering from strabismus or other vision problems.
What Is Strabismus?
Strabismus, also known as crossed eyes, is a condition where the eyes are not aligned properly and both look in different directions simultaneously. This condition can appear at any age, but infants and young children are at higher risk, affecting both girls and boys equally. Strabismus can appear intermittently or stay consistently depending on the patient. Intermittent strabismus can worsen when eye muscles are tired.
When parenting a newborn, you may notice your baby’s eyes wonder now and then in their first few months of existence. The unsystematic eye movement in infants happens because they are still learning to move their eyes together. Most infants outgrow this by the time they are three months old. If your child’s unsystematic eye movement continues past three months, you can consult our eye doctor for proper examination and treatment.
Crossed eyes are also categorized according to the direction the eye turns. Below are the classifications:
- Esotropia – Is the inward turning of the eye.
- Exotropia – Is the outward turning of the eye.
- Hypertropia – Is the upward turning of the eye.
- Hypotropia – Is the downward turning of the eye.
Causes of Strabismus
Crossed eyes can be caused by eye muscle problems, complications with the brain control center that directs eye movement, an issue with the nerves that sends information to the muscles, general health conditions, and eye injuries. There are also risk factors that may lead to strabismus. They include:
- Family History - If a blood relative has strabismus, you or your child are more likely to have it.
- Medical Conditions - A person with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or someone who has suffered a stroke or head injury is at high risk of developing strabismus.
- Refractive Error - A person with uncorrected farsightedness may develop strabismus due to the extra eye concentration needed to see objects.
Accommodative esotropia is a common kind of strabismus. It occurs due to uncorrected farsightedness and genetic predisposition. Because a patient is very farsighted, his or her eyes cross due to the difficulty to focus on nearby objects. This condition can also be diagnosed in children between 2 to 3 years old. Symptoms of accommodative esotropia include closing or covering one eye while doing close tasks, double vision, and tilting the head. Accommodative esotropia is normally treated using patching and glasses, although it may require surgery on one or both eye muscles.
Intermittent exotropia is another common kind of strabismus. In this type, one eye concentrates on the object while the other eye points outward. Symptoms associated with intermittent exotropia include difficulty reading, double vision, eye strain, and covering or closing one eye when viewing far distanced objects. Intermittent exotropia is treated using eye exercising or surgery on the eye muscles.
Make an Appointment with Our Optometry Team
Our team at The Eye Care Center Limited in Addison and Burbank is here to provide you with quality care by offering effective eye treatment. We can create a treatment plan to help straighten your eyes and improve your vision. Call us or contact us online to make an appointment to see how we can help your vision today!