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Strabismus

ABC Children's Eye Specialists

Ophthalmologists & Optometrists located in Phoenix, AZ & Mesa, AZ

Strabismus is the clinical term for conditions that cause a misalignment in your child’s eyes. At ABC Children’s Eye Specialists in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona, the team of pediatric ophthalmologists and optometrists offer customized care to correct the alignment of your child’s eyes and improve their vision. Call or schedule a consultation online today.

Strabismus Q & A

What is strabismus?

Strabismus is the clinical term for misaligned eyes. You may know the condition as a wandering eye, crossing eye, or lazy eye. If your child has strabismus, while one of their eyes looks directly ahead at an object, their other eye drifts inward, outward, up or down. Depending on the direction of the drift, strabismus has different names.

  • Esotropia (inward)
  • Exotropia (outward)
  • Hypertropia (up)
  • Hypotropia (down)

The angle of strabismus varies in severity, and the misalignment may also be intermittent. Some children only have strabismus in one eye, while others may experience alternating strabismus, which affects both eyes.

Your eyes work together to enable your brain to see and perceive depth and distance. However, if your child has congenital or early childhood strabismus, their brain may ignore input from the misaligned eye to prevent double vision.

What are the signs of strabismus?

The most noticeable sign of strabismus is that your child’s eyes don’t point in the same direction. Constant large-angle strabismus doesn’t usually cause other symptoms because the brain doesn’t try to correct the alignment or compensate for the visual disturbance.

However, if your child has small-angle strabismus or intermittent strabismus, they may complain of headaches, eye strain, or complain that text looks jittery or unstable when they try to read.

What causes strabismus?

Your eye movements are controlled by six muscles that must coordinate perfectly for binocular vision. If your child has anatomical or neurological issues that interfere with those muscles, they may develop strabismus. Also, if either parent has strabismus, your child’s risk of developing the condition increases.

How is strabismus corrected?

The ophthalmologists at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists offer vision correction therapy and surgeries to correct strabismus. Vision therapy is usually a 12-week program of therapeutic exercises to strengthen the muscles that control the position and direction of the eyes. Your child will have at least one appointment each week as well as exercises for you to practice together at home.

However, in some cases, eye surgery is the most effective option to correct strabismus. During surgery, your ophthalmologist adjusts the eye muscles so that they’re better able to hold your child’s eyes in the correct positions. Your child may need additional vision therapy after their surgery to strengthen and rehabilitate those muscles.

Call ABC Children’s Eye Specialists or make an appointment online today to learn more about strabismus and the available treatments.