What is strabismus?
Strabismus is a condition that prevents a person from directing the gaze of both eyes toward the same point. Because the eyes are not aligned, it can interfere with binocular vision and depth perception. Sometimes strabismus is called “cross eye,” “wall eye,” or heterotropia.
What is amblyopia?
Amblyopia (also called “lazy eye”) is a different but related condition marked by reduced vision of one eye in a way not correctable by glasses or contact lenses. In amblyopia, the eye sends visual signals to the brain, but the brain doesn’t fully process them.
Strabismus may cause amblyopia.
What are the signs and symptoms of strabismus?
Often the signs of strabismus are easy for others to see. Someone who has strabismus may hear others tell them that their eyes aren’t aligned. However, it’s possible to have mild or intermittent strabismus that only an eyecare professional can detect. In children, it’s especially important for an eyecare professional to detect strabismus early.
Symptoms of strabismus include double vision, eye strain, lack of depth perception, lack of binocular vision, headaches, fatigue when reading, and unstable vision.
About 70% of people with strabismus also report social or self-image problems in addition to problems with their vision.
What causes strabismus?
The muscles responsible for moving the eyes are called the extraocular muscles. A problem with these muscles or the nerves that send signals to them can cause strabismus. Strabismus can be caused by Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or visual impairments like cataracts that affect one eye more than the other.
Sometimes strabismus occurs in the first seven years of life. If one eye can’t see as well as the other and the brain starts to ignore that eye, it may lead to permanent amblyopia.
The risk of adult-onset strabismus increases after age 60 and peaks around age 80. About 4% of adults develop strabismus.
Can strabismus or amblyopia be prevented?
Early treatment of strabismus can reduce the chance of developing the related condition of amblyopia and depth perception problems. Many children can recover from amblyopia if they are treated in time. Amblyopia may remain permanent if not treated within a critical period, usually before the age of seven years.
How are strabismus and amblyopia treated?
Depending on the reason for the misalignment, strabismus is often treated with a combination of eyeglasses, vision therapy, and surgery. Strabismus surgery can shorten, lengthen, or change the position of the extraocular muscles to correct eye misalignment.
Amblyopia, if detected early in children, can sometimes be corrected with use of an eye patch on the dominant eye. The use of an eye patch isn’t likely to change any related strabismus, however.
Why choose Eye Centers of Florida for strabismus and amblyopia treatments?
At Eye Centers of Florida, we have a complement of highly qualified doctors available to offer you world-class treatment for eye conditions like strabismus and amblyopia. In particular, Dr. Alexander E. Pogrebniak specializes in pediatric eye care and strabismus surgery for children and adults.
We are proud of our long history of service and on having built lifelong relationships with our patients. Our state-of-the-art facilities are fully equipped to meet the needs of all our patients. Request an appointment today.
Images © 2016 American Academy of Ophthalmology.