Strabismus Causes and Treatment

man with lazy eye

In order for your eyes to focus normally, six muscles around each eye must work together. When your two eyes see different images, your brain tends to favor the stronger eye. This means the weak eye gets weaker, resulting in amblyopia, or “lazy eye.”

Risk factors for developing strabismus may include farsightedness and a family history of the disorder. Both adults and children suffer from strabismus, but the causes are different. For adults, causes include:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Botulism
  • Graves’ disease
  • Shellfish poisoning
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Cranial nerve palsies
  • Tumors
  • Eye injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Vision loss

Treatment

Treatment for strabismus involves a few steps. First, your eye doctor will determine whether you need glasses. Then, he or she will treat your amblyopia. This typically involves wearing a patch over the stronger eye, forcing the weak eye to work harder. This can be frustrating and tiring, but is an important step.

Next, you might need surgery to help the eye muscles work together correctly. This surgery can be done at any age. Eye alignment surgery is generally performed as an outpatient procedure, often with local or regional anesthetic. However, in some cases, it might require hospitalization. Most people can return to their regular activities within a few days. Your doctor might restrict swimming and heavy lifting for several weeks.

The reasons to have eye alignment surgery go way beyond cosmetic benefits. Eye misalignment can cause disabling and dangerous double vision. Since people with strabismus are often self-conscious about this condition, getting alignment surgery may improve your circumstances emotionally, socially and even economically.

What to Expect After Treatment

Any type of surgery bears risks, including infection, bleeding and anesthetic complications. The most common risks for strabismus surgery are double vision and residual misalignment. In rare cases, patients may suffer retinal detachment or decreased vision. However, most patients experience a significant improvement in eye alignment after surgery. They may feel pain and a pulling sensation around the eyes for a few days. Usually over-the-counter pain relievers can address this level of discomfort.

If you suffer from strabismus and would like to discuss your treatment options, call our clinic today.

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  • "We use Anderson Optometry for all of our family’s vision needs. Recently, we had to have our youngest fitted for new glasses and he made the experience fun for her and informative for us. We know Dr. Anderson will always take good care of our family’s eye care and that’s why we wouldn’t go to anywhere else."
    The Harrison Family
  • "Dr. Anderson and his staff are so patient and friendly. Dr. Anderson prescribed me glasses and I had the toughest time picking out frames. They didn’t rush, but instead made helpful suggestions and now I have an awesome pair of frames, not to mention the fact that I can see ten times better than before. You guys are the best!"
    Shelly