What is strabismus?

Strabismus is an ocular disorder in which there is a deviation of an eye axis relative to the other. Most often it occurs in childhood, popular with the name of “cross-eyed”. This usually involves a lack of coordination between extraocular muscles that does not allow the focusing of both eyes at the same point in space and prevents good binocular vision. It may appear in one eye or both eyes.

Proper eye alignment is important to avoid double vision, correct depth perception, or to prevent eye sight loss. When the eyes are not aligned, the brain receives two different images. The weaker eye ceases after a while to send signals to the brain, resulting in amblyopia or lazy eyes.

Six muscles are responsible for controlling each eye. Ideally, the eyes work together to look in the same direction. When motion control problems occur, one of the eyes may move towards the nose, the tempus, the up or down. This eye movement may always occur, or only when the baby is tired, sick, if he or she has been focused on reading or computer for a long time. Sometimes only one eye “runs away”, sometimes it can alternate.

Strabismus can be caused by problems of the muscles, nerve-transmitting muscles, or the control center in the brain responsible for eye movements. It may also develop as a result of illness or trauma. Risk factors may include family history, vision problems involving large diopters for correction, or medical issues.

Children with strabismus can easily be diagnosed only by simply observing the position of the eyeball. Strabismus can occur in the first months after birth, in which case it is congenital, or around the age of 3, due to a large uncorrected hypermetropia.

Children with strabismus can complain about the following symptoms: blurred vision, eye fatigue, strong light sensitivity, double vision.

Treatment of strabismus should be started as soon as possible after diagnosis; the smaller the child, the better the chances of this affection being corrected. Treatment may include eyeglass wearing, the use of occlusion, medical treatment, eyeball exercises, botulinum toxin treatment, or surgical treatment.

Therefore, it is especially important that strabismus must be diagnosed in time so that the child’s vision develops to the maximum capacity and also in order to not affect the binocular vision. Following a thorough investigation, our optometrists will ensure that the little ones have eyes ready for school.

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