Strabismus is a vision condition characterized by an eye misalignment, where the eyes do not point in the same direction. One eye may look straight ahead while the other eye may turn inward (esotropia), outward (exotropia), upward (hypertropia), or downward (hypotropia). This misalignment can be constant or intermittent and can affect one or both eyes.
Strabismus can lead to double vision because the brain receives conflicting visual information from the two eyes. In response, the brain may suppress or ignore the input from one eye, which can lead to a condition called amblyopia in the suppressed eye. Amblyopia can result in reduced vision in the affected eye if left untreated.
Strabismus can have various causes, including problems with the eye muscles, nerve issues, or a family history of the condition. It can manifest in children as early as infancy or develop in adulthood. It is essential to diagnose and treat strabismus, especially in children, because early intervention can help prevent amblyopia and improve eye alignment.
Treatment for strabismus may involve:
- Eyeglasses: In some cases, prescription glasses can help correct the alignment of the eyes.
- Eye patches or atropine drops: These can be used to encourage the weaker eye to work and develop stronger vision, particularly if amblyopia has developed.
- Vision therapy: This involves a series of eye exercises and activities to improve eye coordination and strengthen the eye muscles.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgical correction of the eye muscles may be necessary to realign the eyes. This is often considered when other treatments have not been successful or when there is a significant misalignment.
The treatment approach for strabismus depends on the individual's age, the severity of the condition, and the underlying cause. Should you or family member develop strabismus, urgent investigation by the team at Rose Optometry will help determine the most appropriate treatment plan.