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You may not know the word strabismus, but you’ve probably heard of crossed eyes. These are two names for the same condition: when the eyes look in different directions. Weak eye muscle control may be the cause of this condition that can affect children or adults. It can also be caused by medical conditions, eye injury, eye disease or other health conditions.

There are different names for the ways in which the eyes can drift:

  • Eyes turning inward is called esotropia
  • Eyes turning outward is called exotropia
  • Eyes turning upward is called hypertropia
  • Eyes turning downward is called hypotropia

The drifting of the eyes can be constant or intermittent.

Symptoms of Strabismus

The most obvious symptom is when one of the eyes appears physically out of alignment with the other one. However, there can be other warning signs that this condition may be affecting you or your child:

  • Double vision
  • Headaches
  • Eye strain or fatigue
  • Poor depth perception
  • Moving or tilting the head to see objects 
  • Squinting

Treatment for Strabismus

It is important to treat strabismus as soon as possible – especially for children. Depending on the severity of the condition, it may be possible to use glasses or contact lenses to align the eyes. There are also special prism lenses that alter light entering the eye so there is a reduced need for eye turning.

Eye exercises can help strengthen the coordination of the eyes and aid in focusing. This would be a structured program that is done at home.

If your doctor also suspects amblyopia (lazy eye), wearing an eye patch over the stronger eye for several hours a day to force the brain to send signals to the weak eye may be prescribed.

If you are noticing any changes in your child’s eyes, your child is having problems in school or you have a family history of strabismus, contact the pediatric ophthalmologists at Azul Vision. Our team is trained to diagnose this condition in the earliest stages so prompt treatment can be started. Our goal is to help children achieve their best vision for success in life. We’d be honored to care for your child, too.

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