What is strabismus?

What is this random word? Most of you are most likely new to the term strabismus. It is optical speak for, crossed eyes.

What causes strabismus?

Several different issues can create crossed eyes. Sometimes it is the muscles in the eye. Other times it may be how the brain communicates with the eye. In some cases, an eye injury can cause strabismus. It may alternate between eyes, turn the eye in any direction, or only occur when the patient is tried. For example, someone may only see strabismus when they see themselves in photos.

There are two common types of strabismus.  

  1. Intermittent exotropia – This is when an eye, or both eyes, tend to turn beyond the object being viewed due to an inability for the person to coordinate eyes. This is commonly the cause of eye strain, difficulty reading, headaches, and difficulty when in bright sunlight.
  2. Accommodative esotropia – this is due to uncorrected farsightedness. Due to the patient’s eye strain, the eyes tend to turn inward. These patients see double, having to cover an eye when reading or trying to do close up work, tilting of head to focus.

False Strabismus

Currently, we see false strabismus commonly infants. Often times, newborn babies are born with cross eyes. Children will typically grow out of this around one year of age.

Risk Factors

Depending on the type of strabismus, a family history can play a role. In addition, uncorrected farsightedness. Different medical conditions can cause strabismus. Also, stroke or head injury can be risk factors for crossed eyes.


Based on the type of strabismus, will be what decides the treatment. Common treatments include eyeglasses, patches, prism lenses (lenses that help focus your eyes in the center), therapy, or surgery.

If you choose corrective surgery, this will allow an ophthalmologic surgeon to align the eyes and muscles properly. This surgery is an outpatient clinic and under general anesthesia.