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Specialty / Strabismus

When one eye is focused on an object while the other crosses in, drifts out, floats up, or points down, this is known as strabismus. This misalignment of the eyes can occur when you look in a particular direction or when you look in all directions. Our highly experienced surgeons can correct strabismus to improve your vision and your confidence.

When misalignment of the eyes is present, our experienced ophthalmic surgeon can help.

Strabismus refers to eyes that are misaligned and point in different directions. It may always be noticeable, or it may come and go. The eyes may cross in, drift outward, or one eye may be higher than the other. When the eyes are misaligned, two different pictures are sent to the brain. In a young child, the brain learns to ignore the image of the misaligned eye. This causes loss of depth perception and binocular vision, and often “lazy eye” (amblyopia) results. Adults with misaligned eyes usually have double vision. Strabismus also can run in families, and it is NOT outgrown. As a child gets older, the chance of developing normal sight and binocular vision decreases.
 

 

What Happens When My Child Has Strabismus?

When the eyes are misaligned, two different pictures are sent to the brain. In a young child, the brain learns to ignore the image of the misaligned eye. This causes loss of depth perception and binocular vision, and often “lazy eye” (amblyopia) results. Adults with misaligned eyes usually have double vision.

Depending on the cause and type of eye misalignment, glasses, patching, eye drops, prisms and/or surgery may be recommended. Our pediatric team will conduct a comprehensive eye exam to determine an effective treatment plan.

 

When to schedule an appointment with our pediatric ophthalmologist.

Strabismus, if left untreated, can cause visual development. However, it can be difficult to detect in a young child. Children often do not complain about their vision or eyes when they are misaligned and it’s common that no symptoms are present. Some symptoms to look for include:

  • Squinting
  • Closing an eye in bright lights (photosensitivity)
  • Headaches
  • Head tilts/turns

Sometimes it is difficult to tell if the eyes are truly deviating, particularly if your child’s eyes do not deviate all the time. If you have any question about your child’s eyes, it is important to have a full evaluation by a pediatric ophthalmologist.
 
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I Am Experiencing Crossing Of The Eyes or Double Vision

Adults can develop strabismus at any point during their lives. Usually, you will begin to notice one eye drifting out or in or pointing in a different direction from the other eye. As the misalignment progresses, focusing on objects clearly can become difficult and may even lead to a loss of independence. Adults with misaligned eyes can also develop double vision. The onset of which can be sudden or gradual. The distortion may also occur sometimes or only in specific circumstances. This happens because the brain is receiving and trying to process two different images. Fortunately, strabismus for adults, in many cases, is treatable.

Wilmington Eye’s Dr. Melissa Shipley offers advanced treatment and procedures for strabismus. If you are suffering from strabismus or think your eyes might be misaligned, schedule a comprehensive eye exam today.

 

Hear Adrienne’s Story About Overcoming Strabismus

 

Strabismus FAQs

How painful is strabismus surgery?

Discomfort after eye muscle surgery is usually not severe. A feeling of nausea can occur due to some of the medications used for anesthesia or from the surgery itself. Headache, a pulling sensation with eye movement and foreign body sensation in the eye are the most common complaints. The eyes are often red following surgery as the muscle heals. There may be mild swelling of the eyelids. These symptoms typically last only several days. Over-the-counter pain medication often reduces discomfort, although stronger medication is sometimes prescribed. Ice compresses can also be helpful. Most patients return to full activity in several days.

Will insurance cover strabismus surgery?

Eye muscle surgery is reconstructive (not cosmetic). In most cases, insurance will cover strabismus surgery in adults, however, you will need to check with your medical insurance carrier to determine coverage.

How effective is strabismus surgery?

Most individuals see significant improvement in eye alignment following their procedure. Occasionally the surgery is only partially successful, or changes in ocular alignment may occur over time after initially successful surgery. Additional surgery may be indicated. Correction of residual double vision may be improved with the use of prism glasses.

Is hospitalization required for strabismus surgery?

Eye alignment surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure at a surgical facility like Wilmington Eye Surgery Center, although the need for hospitalization varies depending upon your general health and will be determined by your surgeon.

Can anything be done for adults with strabismus?

Yes. Strabismus for adults, in many cases, is treatable. Adults can benefit from some of the same treatment options that are available to children for treating strabismus. Treatment options may include prismatic glasses, specialized exercises to regain the coordination of both eyes (fusional exercises) and surgery. Most adults with misaligned eyes are able to have successful realignment with surgery.

Where can I find more information on Strabismus?

The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus website is a great resource for learning more about Strabismus and other conditions diagnosed and treated by pediatric ophthalmologists.

I think my child’s eyes are crossed or drifting, but I am not sure. Should he/she be checked?

Yes.  Sometimes it is difficult to tell if the eyes are truly deviating, particularly if your child’s eyes do not deviate all of the time.  If you have any question about your child’s eyes, it is important to have a full evaluation by a pediatric ophthalmologist.

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