Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)

Strabismus, more commonly referred to as crossed eyes, is a physical condition where the eyes do not align. One eye may move normally while the other eye turns out, up, or down. The misalignment may be constant or intermittent. Strabismus is usually diagnosed at an early age and should be treated as soon as possible.

What is strabismus?

Normally, the eyes work together to focus on objects. When strabismus is present, it can affect depth perception and cause double vision. Eventually, the brain learns to screen out images from the turned out eye. Without treatment, strabismus commonly leads to amblyopia, or lazy eye.

As much as five percent of all children suffer from some degree of strabismus. Poor eye muscle control or high levels of farsightedness can cause children to experience issues with eye alignment as an infant or toddler.

Symptoms of strabismus

Infants with crossed eyes may sometimes grow out of the condition as their vision develops, but true strabismus is not something that simply goes away. Symptoms of strabismus include double vision and loss of depth perception. If your child is having visible issues with eye alignment, it is always best to see a doctor.

Causes of strabismus

The exact cause of strabismus is unknown; however, there are several risk factors associated with the condition, including the following: 

  • Family history of strabismus 
  • High levels of farsightedness 
  • Cerebral palsy 
  • Brain injury 
  • Eye injury

Strabismus can also develop in adults and may be linked to a wide range of issues, including: 

  • Traumatic brain injury 
  • Diabetes 
  • Botulism 
  • Eye injuries 
  • Shellfish poisoning

Treatment of strabismus

Children do not simply outgrow strabismus, it is always best to seek treatment from an eye doctor if your child is having eye alignment issues. Doctors may recommend glasses, vision exercises, and in rare cases, surgery to improve eye coordination.


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