Strabismus is misalignment of the eyes. This misalignment can be of any direction: inward, outward, up, or down. The cause of strabismus is generally poorly understood and involves a problem with the brain’s control of eye movement. There are several different causes of strabismus, and the underlying problem can involve the brain’s eye movement control area, the nerves to the eyes, or the eye muscles.
Treatment of Strabismus
It is important to identify and treat strabismus as some cases can lead to amblyopia, or “weakening” of the eye. Simply stated, a child’s brain will prefer sight from the “better” eye and ignore the “weaker” eye. If not addressed, the weaker eye can become permanently impaired. Aligning the eyes with glasses or surgery gives the eyes a better chance to work together.
Adults may develop eye misalignment, or strabismus. Adult strabismus may occur after having a case as a child, from problems within the brain (stroke or tumors, e.g.), and sometimes from causes that are unable to be identified. Adult strabismus is more than just a cosmetic issue, because after treatment patients may benefit from improved depth perception and better overall visual function.
Adult strabismus surgery is generally considered quite safe and has a low risk of complications. There are some adult-specific treatment modalities that offer you and your ophthalmologist improved rates of success. The strabismus experts at Eye Consultants of Atlanta have expertise in the area of adult strabismus and have authored numerous scientific papers regarding this disorder.
For more detailed and expanded information on pediatric eye disorders, please see the Amercian Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus for further information (www.aapos.org.)