What is Strabismus?

Strabismus is a broader term used to mean one eye is pointing in a different direction from the other. There are many different types of strabismus including exotropia and esotropia. Esotropia is when one eye turns inward toward the nose. Exotropia refers to when one eye turns away from the nose. Keep in mind that strabismus is not the same as “lazy eye”, which is amblyopia.

What causes Strabismus?

There are many things that can cause strabismus such as genetics, inappropriate development of the “fusion center” of the brain, problems with the controlled center of the brain, injuries to muscles or nerves. Most cases strabismus is caused by the control center a.k.a. the brain, and it is not caused by a muscle problem.

What are the symptoms of Strabismus?

If a person has strabismus they could have possible double vision because their eyes are not working together and aiming at the same point. They could suppress one eye which means they are turning off one eye in favor of the other. Some other symptoms include; words jumping, words moving while reading, distortion of depth perception and confusion.

The onset of strabismus can occur at different stages of development. All children should have their first examination around 9 months of age. The ability to see 20/20, focusing ability (accommodation), eye muscle coordination (aiming or alignment) and stereopsis are all developed by 6 months of age in humans. By 9 months of age, the system is in place.

Children with strabismus must be identified and treated at a young age to obtain the best chances of restoring normal visual acuity in the presence constant strabismus. The only way to eliminate these obstacles to fusion and stereopsis is with Vision Therapy where the child can be engaged in visual activities while being patched. The turned eye will have the opportunity to improve sensitivity and ultimate function. If you notice one of you child’s eyes turns in or out, please come into our Nashville office to get an exam. It is so important to detect vision problems early.