Strabismus

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Often, adult patients with Strabismus have been told that nothing could be done to help them. Although poor vision from amblyopia cannot be reversed, misalignment of the eyes can be treated successfully with eye muscle surgery.

In addition to restoring a normal appearance to the eyes, surgery may also be indicated to eliminate or reduce double vision, expand the field of peripheral vision and improve a patient’s ability to make eye contact in social situations.

Symptoms of Strabismus:

  • Eyes that look in different directions
  • Head tilt or turn
  • Double vision

Types of Strabismus

Strabismus is generally classified as one of these three types:

  • Esotropia: when one or both eyes turn inward
  • Exotropia: when one or both eyes turn outward
  • Hypertropia: when the axis of one eye remains higher than the other

What is Adult Strabismus

Strabismus is a misalignment of the eyes. In adults, this may cause functional symptoms such as double vision, or cause awkwardness in social interactions due to difficulty making eye contact.

Adult strabismus generally falls into one of the following categories:

  • A childhood-onset strabismus that was never corrected.
  • Childhood-onset strabismus for which eye muscle surgery had been performed but a significant eye misalignment persists or has recurred.
  • Acquired strabismus arising from the eye or head trauma, stroke, brain lesions orbital inflammatory disease (e.g., thyroid eye disease) or prior eye surgery.

How is Adult Strabismus treated?

Eyes can be straightened at any age and surgery should be considered as a treatment alternative if it enhances a patient’s quality of life. Many people are under the impression that strabismus can only be fixed in childhood—this is simply not true! Strabismus surgery can often improve a patient’s ability to use their eyes together (stereovision), improve peripheral vision, as well as cosmetically align the eyes. Strabismus repair is not a “cosmetic” procedure but should more appropriately be considered reconstructive surgery. Misaligned eyes can hinder social interaction, self-confidence, and employment opportunities. All individuals deserve straight eyes if possible.

Treatment of strabismus generally requires eye muscle surgery. However, some patients may need glasses, prisms, medications, or may be best left untreated. All patients considering surgery should be evaluated by a strabismus specialist who will not only evaluate the overall health of the eyes but will also determine if treatment is likely to be beneficial. Eye alignment surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. Following surgery, most individuals return to nearly all normal activities within a few days. The recovery depends on patient age, type of surgery, and whether the patient has had previous surgery.

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