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Lynbrook Optical
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75 Lynbrook Boulevard,, Lynbrook. VIC., 3975Australia
03 9702 9118


Wed Nov 29 2023

Seeing Straight: Understanding and Treating Strabismus

 STRABISMUS, also known as crossed eyes or lazy eye, is a common eye condition that affects many people around the world. It is estimated that 2-4% of the population has some form of strabismus, making it one of the most common eye problems[1].

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of strabismus, it's important to understand what it is, its causes, and the available treatment options. In this article, we'll provide a comprehensive overview of strabismus, including its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.


What is Strabismus?

Strabismus is a condition where the eyes are misaligned, meaning they are not pointing in the same direction[2]. As a result, one or both eyes may turn inwards, outwards, upwards, or downwards. As a result, the brain may receive conflicting visual signals from each eye, leading to double vision or poor depth perception[3].

Strabismus can be present at birth or develop later in life, and it can be constant or intermittent. It can affect one or both eyes and can vary in severity.


What is the Main Cause of Strabismus?

The exact cause of strabismus is not always clear, but it is believed to be related to problems with the eye muscles or nerves that control eye movement. In some cases, strabismus may be hereditary or caused by certain medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy or Down syndrome.

Strabismus can also develop as a result of a refractive error, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, that is not corrected with glasses or contact lenses. In these cases, the eye may turn inward or outward in an attempt to focus properly.

Can Strabismus be Corrected?

The good news is that strabismus can be corrected with proper treatment. The treatment options for strabismus depend on the severity of the condition, the age of the patient, and the underlying cause.

In some cases, eyeglasses or contact lenses may be enough to correct a refractive error and eliminate the misalignment of the eyes. Patching one eye may also be used to strengthen the weaker eye and improve visual acuity.

Eye exercises can also be used to strengthen the eye muscles and improve eye coordination. These exercises may include focusing on a moving object, tracking a moving object with the eyes, and convergence exercises.

Surgery is another option for correcting strabismus. During surgery, the eye muscles are adjusted to realign the eyes. Surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis, and most patients are able to return to normal activities within a few days.


What Age Does Strabismus Go Away?

Strabismus can occur at any age, but it is most commonly diagnosed in children between the ages of 2 and 4. It typically requires treatment as it doesn't generaly doesn’t resolve on its own.  If left untreated, strabismus can lead to amblyopia, also known as lazy eye. Amblyopia occurs when the brain begins to ignore the input from the misaligned eye and relies only on the input from the other eye, leading to reduced visual acuity in the affected eye.

Treatment for strabismus is most effective when started early, ideally before the age of 6. However, even adults with long-standing strabismus can benefit from treatment.

Diagnosis of Strabismus

Diagnosing strabismus typically involves a comprehensive eye exam, including an assessment of visual acuity, eye alignment, and eye movement. Your eye doctor may also perform additional tests, such as a cover test or a visual field test, to determine the extent of the misalignment and the severity of the condition.

If your eye doctor suspects that you have strabismus, they may refer you to a specialist, such as a pediatric ophthalmologist or a strabismus specialist, for further evaluation and treatment.

It's important to note that some forms of strabismus, such as intermittent strabismus, may be more difficult to detect during a routine eye exam. If you notice any symptoms of strabismus, such as double vision or eye misalignment, it's important to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible.


Living with Strabismus

Dealing with strabismus can be difficult, particularly for kids who may be subjected to ridicule or harassment from their peers. However, with proper treatment and support, most people with strabismus are able to lead normal, healthy lives.

If you or your child has strabismus, it's important to work closely with your eye doctor to develop an individualized treatment plan that meets your specific needs. This may include regular follow-up appointments, eye exercises, and/or surgery.

In addition to medical treatment, there are also things you can do at home to support healthy eye development and improve eye coordination. These may include reading with both eyes, playing games that require visual tracking, and avoiding activities that require prolonged close-up work, such as reading or using a computer, for extended periods of time.


Final Thoughts

Strabismus is a common eye condition that affects many people around the world. While it can be a challenge to live with, especially for children, the good news is that it can be treated with proper care and support.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of strabismus, it's important to seek medical attention right away. With early diagnosis and treatment, most people with strabismus are able to achieve normal, healthy vision and lead full, active lives.

If you have any questions about strabismus or would like to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor, don't hesitate to reach out. you can book an appointment with our optometrist online or call us at 613-9702-9118. Your eyesight is one of your most valuable assets, and it's important to take care of it at every age and stage of life.