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Strabismus

Strabismus is the technical term for misaligned eyes, also known as squint.

This condition can happen at any age. The squinting eye may turn inwards (convergent) or outwards (divergent), or one eye can be higher than the other. Strabismus can result in decreased binocular or stereo (3D) vision, and children with strabismus can also develop a lazy eye.

An example showcasing Strabismus

Causes of Strabismus

Squints are most commonly caused by an imbalance in how the brain coordinates the eyes. It can also be caused by abnormal spectacle power (eg. high hyperopia or myopia), or anything that obscures the vision in one eye (eg. childhood cataracts or other eye abnormalities).

Occasionally, squints can results from an abnormality of the nerves supplying the eye muscles or an abnormality in the eye muscles or surrounding tissues within the eye socket.

Treatments of Strabismus

The longer the misalignment of the eyes goes untreated, the more difficult it becomes to correct. Treatment varies with the type of squint present.

Your doctor may recommend one or more of these treatments:

  • Prescription glasses and fusion exercises
  • Prism lenses
  • Covering or patching the stronger eye to strengthen the weaker one
  • Surgery to correct unbalanced eye muscles,

Some kinds of strabismus can be treated with glasses and some kinds do not require treatment, but most forms of strabismus will not improve without surgery. Most patients are able to be managed with a single operation, although some require more than one procedure.

Strabismus surgery is a day procedure. It is usually performed under general anesthesia, but sometimes it can be done by an injectable local anesthetic or anesthetic eyedrops. General anesthesia is required when the patient is a child. Children usually bounce back within only a few days but may still need glasses after surgery.

The surgeon will make a small incision in the outer covering of the eye to access the outer or extraocular muscles. The measurements from the preoperative preparation will be used as a guide for how much correction needs to be made. In some cases, both eyes may be treated during the surgery.

What to Expect After Surgery

Patients who have had strabismus surgery can expect discomfort of the eyes for one to two days after surgery. Some children and adults have no discomfort at all.
Strabismus Surgery Outcomes

Strabismus surgery can significantly improve binocularity, the ability to focus upon an object with both eyes and create a single image. The proper coordination between both eyes is a basic yet critical visual ability.

Strabismus Surgery Risks

As with any surgery, there are some minor but potential risks with this procedure, including:

  • Undercorrection
  • Overcorrection
  • Infection
  • Scarring

Videos and Additional information

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