Strabismus is also called crossed eyes because two eyes are not aligned properly and do not work together.
Unilateral strabismus means the misalignment affects the same eye while alternating strabismus when the misalignment takes turns for two eyes. It can be constant or intermittent.
Types of Strabismus
Large-angle strabismus refers to the large and obvious misalignment of the eyes. There are no symptoms such as eye strain and headaches with this type of strabismus because there is no effort exerted by the brain to straighten the eye.
Severe amblyopia can be the result if large-angle strabismus is left untreated.
Small-angle strabismus refers to the less obvious eye turns. This type of strabismus causes visual symptoms mostly when it is intermittent. Symptoms can include headache, eye strain, inability to read comfortably, fatigue when reading, and unstable vision.
If it is a constant and unilateral type of small-angle strabismus, significant amblyopia in misaligned eyes can occur.
Large-angle and small-angle strabismus can both affect the psychological state of children or adults because it is embarrassing and awkward not to maintain normal eye contact with other people mostly when conversing.
Signs and Symptoms of Strabismus
The most obvious sign of strabismus is the misalignment of the eyes. One eye can turn in, out, up, down, or at an oblique angle. There are types of misalignment of the other eye:
- Esotropia means that the other eye is misaligned inward and it is also known as “cross-eyed”.
- Exotropia means that the other eye is misaligned outward and it is also known as “wall-eyed”.
- Hypertropia means that the other eye is misaligned upward.
- Hypotropia means that the other eye is misaligned downward.
Intermittent crossed eyes are common in newborns because they have an incomplete vision development but it usually disappears as the visual system matures.
The best way to detect strabismus is through routine eye exams. If it is detected early, the less problem it is because, without treatment, it can develop double vision and amblyopia.
Causes of Strabismus
The extraocular muscles or the six external muscles in each eye controls the position and movement of the eye. When there is a neurological or anatomical problem that hinders the extraocular muscles to function properly, strabismus occurs.
Genetics can be another cause of strabismus because if a mother or father has strabismus, it is most likely that your child can develop it as well.
If strabismus is treated, the two eyes can function together properly and with coordination.