Strabismus is a medical condition in which the two eyes of a person are unable to maintain the normal proper alignment and function together. One eye will be looking directly at an object while the other is misaligned. There are 4 types of strabismus condition:
The strabismus condition can be intermittent or constant. The two eyes can suffer misalignment interchangeably (alternating strabismus) or one eye can be affected by the condition (unilateral strabismus). When a child starts developing strabismus, the brain will opt to ignore the visual impact caused by the misaligned eye hence lead to lazy eye/amblyopia. In the U.S 4% of the population suffers from strabismus.
What are the signs and symptoms of Strabismus?
The most obvious sign of this condition is the clear visible misalignment of a person’s eye. One or both eyes turning up, down, out, in or at a strange angle. The Hirschberg test (corneal light reflex medical test) is carried out to determine the level of strabismus a person has. The angle refers to how many degrees the eye has deviated. Large angle means the misalignment is obvious and large. Small angle refers to the less obvious misalignment. When someone has the large angular misalignment and affected eye is not treated, they will develop severe amblyopia.
Causes of Strabismus
The eye movement and position are controlled by six external muscles known as the extraocular muscles. When the eye has anatomical or neurological problems, which affect the functions and control of the external muscles, the development of strabismus starts. The problem could be in the nerves, muscles or the vision centers located in the brain. If a parent has strabismus, then their offspring is at a higher risk of suffering the same condition.
Accommodative esotropia occurs when a child who is farsighted attempts to focus to compensate for the uncorrected farsightedness. He/she will end up developing a type of strabismus known as accommodative esotropia. Oftentimes, the condition will appear when the child is two years old, though sometimes it can develop at a later stage of childhood. With contact lenses and eye glasses, this condition can be medically corrected.
The most effective treatment of strabismus condition is having strabismus surgery. After being diagnosed with the condition, should visit an to an ophthalmologist who is specialized in strabismus surgery. Some of the factors that determine the success of the surgery are: magnitude of the eye alignment and the number of eyes affected. There will be some cases where a patient might require more than one surgery. This surgery works well for both kids and adults who are suffering from the condition. But if the surgery is done in the early stages of the condition, the higher the chances of the eye developing normal visual acuity. Some adults might have to deal with a certain amount of amblyopia even after the surgery that’s why the surgery should be done in the early stages of strabismus.
Do you have a question about the side effects of strabismus? Click here to see ophthalmology and adult strabismus expert Dr. Sami for an exam!