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What is Strabismus?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Feb 21, 2024
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An eye disorder that can lead to a permanent condition, strabismus is a situation that requires the immediate attention of professional medical assistance. Here are some facts about strabismus, including how the condition can be successfully treated.

Essentially, strabismus is a condition in which the directional line of vision is not the same for both eyes. One eye does not point in the same direction as the other eye. Crossed eyes are one example of how strabismus may manifest itself. Another indication of the presence of strabismus is the appearance of what are commonly referred to as wall eyes.

With wall eyes, the eyes appear to be protruding and enlarged; this is sometimes accompanied with one eye that appears to slightly be focused on a different direction than the other eye. It is important to note that in some cases of strabismus, one eye will function efficiently, while the other eye will appear to work independently. This is sometimes referred to a lazy eye.

There is no known cause for strabismus. Modern science has not been able to tie the appearance of the condition to any sort of genetic or hereditary factors, nor is there evidence that the condition results as a by product of disease. There is some evidence that when the extraocular muscles of the eye fail to develop properly, or are somehow compromised, that strabismus is more likely to occur.

Persons who suffer with strabismus often find themselves squinting more often. In time, the person may find that in order to perform the simplest visual tasks, it is necessary to squint. As the condition worsens, others will begin to notice the frequent squint-eyed activity and will often ask if something is wrong. Anyone who begins to exhibit the symptoms of strabismus should seek immediate attention. Failure to deal with strabismus in its early stages can develop permanent depth perception as well as a general loss of vision.

Strabismus is more often found with infants and young children, rather than in adults. Still, it is possible to develop strabismus later in life. Children who are identified as having strabismus should be treated immediately, so that the condition does not have the chance to permanently damage eyesight. Often, this can be accomplished with a preschool age child by putting a patch over the unaffected eye, forcing the weak ocular muscles to strengthen and eventually function normally. However, there is the chance that advanced cases involving children or adults will require reparative surgery before the condition is brought under control.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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