Strabismus, or “crossed eyes,” is the inability to properly align both eyes together. This results in an eye that will appear to wander out of alignment, which in turn has a significant impact on an individual’s functional vision. One eye may appear to turn in (esotropia), out (exotropia), up (hypertropia), or down (hypotropia). The eye turn may occur constantly or only intermittently. Eye-turning may only appear when a person is tired or has done a lot of reading. Strabismus may cause double vision. To avoid seeing out of the turned eye, vision in that eye may be ignored resulting in a “lazy eye” (amblyopia).
One approach to try to correct strabismus is eye muscle surgery, which results in the cosmetic realignment of the eyes after one or multiple operations. While these surgeries aim to make the eyes appear realigned, the brain has not learned how to properly team the eyes so that they work together. As a result, the brain could continue to suppress the visual input from one eye, therefore, the individual will still experience poor depth perception.
In most cases the problem does not improve as the child grows. Treatment varies depending on the cause of the eye-turning, and may include:
While eye muscle surgery can sometimes straighten the eyes, vision therapy is often necessary to restore full visual function with the goal being 3D vision.