A Strabismus occurs when a person’s eyes do not align properly. Sometimes this is very apparent cosmetically (as in wall-eyes or crossed eyes) or it may only be picked up during a comprehensive eye exam.
Often a strabismus only becomes apparent when the eyes are tired, during illness, or when looking at things up close. Rarely, certain medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease, strokes, injuries to the head or eyes, and certain tumors can cause they eyes not to function or align properly. In these cases the person may have symptoms such as double vision. Strabismus tends to run in families.
If the strabismus is present from an early age (when the eyes and brain are still developing together) a related condition, termed amblyopia, can occur in one or both eyes. This reduces the potential for clear vision, as well as binocularity and depth perception.
There are many ways to treat a strabismus. First if there is an underlying disorder or disease, that is treated. Second, glasses, contact lenses, special glasses with prism within, and vision therapy can all help to realign the eyes. Occasionally, the eye turn is so large that eye surgery may be required ensure better alignment and reduce the visibility of the turn.
The Various terms: esotropia, exotropia, and hypertropia all just refer to the direction in which one or the other eye points out of alignment. Eso means “in,” Exo means “out,” and Hyper means “up and down.”
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