Definition of Strabismus

Strabismus (tropia) is a condition, also called tropia, in which the eyes do not focus simultaneously on the same object. One eye may turn inward (“crosseye” or esotropia), or one eye may turn outward (“walleye” or exotropia).

Congenital strabismus may occur with retinoblastoma or retinopathy of prematurity and becomes apparent in the first few months after birth. Most strabismus develops in children between the ages of one and five. About half of the time the cause of strabismus in children is unknown (idiopathic) and not associated with any underlying condition.

Causes of Strabismus

In adults, strabismus may develop as a consequence of trauma to the eye, traumatic brain injury (tbi), or stroke. Adults may experience double vision (diplopia) or uncoordinated movements of the eyes. Adults also may acquire strabismus as a consequence of vision loss in one eye, which results in lack of visual signals that cue the brain for muscle movements of the eye.

Common causes of acquired strabismus in adults include stroke, trauma, graves’s disease, and other surgery.

Strabismus Treatment and Surgery

The diagnostic path includes comprehensive ophthalmic and neurologic examinations. Timely treatment in children is essential to prevent amblyopia, in which the brain learns to perceive images from only one eye.

This learning establishes the brain’s vision pathways, and if untreated becomes a form of permanent vision loss. Strabismus treatment may include exercises or surgery to strengthen the eye muscles of the weak eye.


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