Strabismus in Children0

Understanding Strabismus

StrabismusStrabismus or squint (also known as “wall-eye” or “cross-eye”) is a condition wherein the eyes are misaligned and are not looking in the same direction.

There are 6 muscles that move each eye in different directions. These movements are properly coordinated for both eyes. Strabismus occurs when the muscles fail to work together in synchrony.

Strabismus may be described depending on which direction the eye is turned.



There are different causes for strabismus in children.

Strabismus may be congenital or present at birth, the cause of which may be unknown, however it can run in some families.

Strabismus may also be due to significant errors of refraction, and as the child attempts to see clearly, the eyes turn.

In some children, poor vision in one eye may cause that eye to drift.

Rarely in children, strabismus may be due to metabolic problems or tumors in the brain.


Problems Associated with Strabismus

Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, is a condition commonly associated with strabismus. This may be due to non-use of one of the eyes in early childhood. Amblyopia should be treated as early as possible to prevent it from being permanent.

Impaired binocular vision is also frequently encountered in strabismus. These patients may fail to form a 3-dimensional image of objects or have poor depth perception because signals coming from both eyes are not properly transmitted in the brain.

Some children with strabismus may become too conscious of their appearance which could result in a low self esteem.



Treatment for strabismus is tailored to address the need of each patient. Treatment may be a combination of the following:

Amblyopia treatment. This may come in the form of special glasses, drops, patching, or a combination of these. Amblyopia must be treated immediately if present to improve vision and control of the affected eye. Duration of treatment will differ from child to child. Amblyopia treatment may be precede and/or follow surgery.

Errors of refraction may be corrected using spectacles, contact lenses, or a combination of both.

Surgery of the eye muscles will depend on the severity of the strabismus. The goal of the surgery is to straighten the eyes to try and restore binocular vision as possible. In some cases, surgery is for cosmesis.

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