What Causes Crossed Eyes or Strabismus?

Bucky LaFountain


Strabismus is a misalignment of the eyes causing the eyes to cross and presents itself in approximately 4% of the population. There are many different types of strabismus ranging from horizontal esotropia, which is the inward turning of the eyes sometimes also referred to as 'crossed eyes', and exotropia, which is the opposite sometimes called 'wall-eyed'. There is also vertical strabismus which describes a condition where one eye is higher (hypertropia) or lower (hypotropia) than the dominant eye.

What Causes Crossed Eyes (Strabismus)?

Strabismus, or crossed eyes, is caused by poor neuromuscular control between the eye and the brain, or it can be caused by the abnormal development of the muscles responsible for eye movement. This misalignment of the eyes can cause the brain to receive two different images forcing it to ignore the image from one eye to avoid double vision. Such behavior from the brain may results in poor vision development in the ignored eye making it inferior in performance. However, the opposite can also be true, where the misalignment is caused by poor vision not poor eye muscles forcing the brain to use the dominant eye therefore making the other eye weaker both visually and muscularly.

There are also other disorders that can directly cause strabismus. For instance, children suffering from cerebral palsy, down's syndrome or a brain tumor are more prone to developing strabismus. Adults having experienced neurological trauma, from a stroke or graves disease can experience strabismus.

How Do You Treat Crossed Eyes (Strabismus)?

The overall goal sought when treating crossed eyes, or strabismus, is primarily to improve eye alignment.There are many options that are available to achieve this goal. Some of these options may include eye exercises, eye muscle surgery, eye glasses, and patches to name a few. However, although there are many different treatments available all of them use the same basic strategy that is, to resolve the issue by forcing the brain to utilize the weaker eye for sight. By eliminating the dominant eye as an option the brain is forced to use the weaker eye strengthening its vision and muscle ultimately repairing the problem.

Strabismus afflicts millions of people around the globe. Many of these cases can be treated by simply following the treatment that is suggested by your eye doctor.


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