Proper eye alignment is crucial to good vision. When the eyes do not look at the same place at the same time, it can lead to double vision, problems with depth perception and poor vision in the misaligned eye.
Strabismus is a medical condition that causes misalignment of the eyes. While one eye looks at an object, the other eye simultaneously crosses inward, looks outward or points downward. The misalignment may occur all the time or intermittently, such as during periods of illness or during stressful situations. It can shift from one eye to the other.
In most cases, strabismus develops in infants and young children. Children do not outgrow strabismus, and it can get worse without treatment. A sudden misalignment of the eyes can occur in adulthood, sometimes suggesting a serious medical condition like a stroke.
If you or your child have misaligned eyes, the doctors at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons can help. We will diagnose your specific condition and strive to understand how often it occurs and whether it affects one eye or both. Based on what we learn from your case, we will recommend the most appropriate method to treat the problem.
What Causes Strabismus?
Strabismus can be caused by several different factors. Some cases are caused by problems with the six muscles that control the movement of the eyes; other cases are caused by the nerves that transmit information to those muscles or the part of the brain that controls eye movements.
Someone with a family history of strabismus or significant, uncorrected farsightedness is more likely to develop strabismus, as are individuals with cerebral palsy or Down syndrome. Head injury and stroke are also risk factors.
Treatments for Strabismus
Treating strabismus may involve the use of eyeglasses, vision therapy or surgery on the eye muscles.
For some patients, simply wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses can correct the problem. This is true in certain cases of children with farsightedness.
In other patients, physical therapy with an optometrist or ophthalmologist is recommended to strengthen the eye muscles and correct eye movements. Therapy sessions help to train the brain to align the eyes, focus and visually process images. Computerized optical devices, including lenses and filters, can be used during visual therapy sessions.
Sometimes surgery is recommended to treat certain forms or cases of strabismus. During surgery, one or more of the muscles responsible for moving the eye are strengthened or weakened. After surgery the eyes appear straight. Subsequent vision therapy can help improve eye coordination and prevent the eyes from becoming misaligned again.
Contact Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons Today
Left untreated, eye misalignment will not get better on its own. If you or your child has problems with eye alignment, you should consult with an experienced eye doctor at our practice as soon as possible. We will evaluate the circumstances of your or your child’s case and recommend the best course of action.
To request an appointment at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons today, please call or email our practice today.