Strabismus, a relatively common condition that affects about 4% of people in the United States, makes your eyes appear permanently crossed. If you have strabismus, there are treatments that can help correct your vision.
Strabismus means that your eyes are misaligned with one another. You may have double vision, one eye may point in a different direction than the other, or your eyes may feel weak.
Read on as Dr. Randa Garrana of Advanced Lasik explains more about how we can treat your eyes.
What is strabismus?
Strabismus is an eye condition in which the muscles of your eyes don’t work correctly. There are six muscles that control your eyes, and if just one of these muscles is weaker than the others, it can cause problems with eyeball positioning and vision.
Family history plays a significant role in whether or not you’ll develop strabismus; about 30% of people with strabismus also have a family member with the same disorder.
Problems can appear in early childhood or later in life. If you develop problems in early life, you may be able to correct the problem and protect your vision before it presents too many problems.
The symptoms of strabismus
Strabismus may be an issue of neuromuscular control or of ocular (eye) control. Symptoms of strabismus include:
- Poor vision in one eye
- Uncorrected refractive errors (poor vision which requires corrective lenses)
- Down syndrome (20-60% of people with Down syndrome also have strabismus)
- Cerebral palsy
- Brain tumor
- Stroke (the most common cause of adult-onset strabismus)
- Head injuries
- Neurological problems
- Hydrocephalus (a disease that causes fluid buildup on the brain before birth)
- Graves’ disease (overproduction of thyroid hormones)
While you should be able to tell if your baby’s eyes focus in the same direction by six months of age, strabismus may appear later, too. Most pediatric cases occur by three years of age.
The results of untreated strabismus
You might think that strabismus is only a cosmetic issue, but this is an incomplete understanding of the range of issues that poor vision can affect. Some issues you may face if you don’t get strabismus treated include:
- Double vision
- Closing one eye to focus better on something
- Turning or tilting your head
- Eye strain
- Difficulty reading
Although strabismus is common, it’s also treatable. There’s no reason to continue suffering with its effects.
How we treat strabismus
The first thing we can do to treat strabismus is also the easiest: we can fit you for a pair of corrective lenses. Whether you choose glasses or contacts, wearing corrective lenses can often be enough to resolve the issue completely.
We may also prescribe eye exercises, which are most effective if your eye points outward. In some cases, we can prescribe eye drops, ointments, or Botox® injections to weaken an overactive eye muscle. This is sometimes a good step before surgery.
If you do opt for surgical treatment to correct strabismus, it’s usually a permanent fix. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and strengthens the ocular muscles so your eyes point in the correct direction.
If you have strabismus, we can help. Contact Dr. Randa Garrana at Advanced Lasik today, or request an appointment online at your nearest office in Manhattan, New York, or Pasadena or Long Beach, California, any time.