Commonly known as cross-eyed or eye turn, strabismus is a condition in which a person cannot point both eyes at the same place. Strabismus may be constant (all the time) or intermittent (only under certain conditions, such as tired or sick), although ANY amount of eye turning is considered a problem. Children do NOT grow out of strabismus! Vision Therapy is very effective in the treatment of strabismus and has been used for over 100 years to straighten the eyes of those young and old.

Does strabismus cause double vision?

Yes and no. Some people do see double when the eye turns, which makes vision unbearable. Some people unconsciously ignore the image from one eye, called suppression. This is an active process that takes WORK, and it can result in a lazy eye (decreased in vision).

Who is affected by strabismus?

It is estimated that up to 5% children have some form of strabismus. Early detection and treatment is strongly advised! Some cases of strabismus present as early as 3 months of age, while other forms start later in childhood. Infants and toddlers should have a developmental eye exam to evaluate any eye turn, even if it is very infrequent!

Are there other forms of treatment for strabismus?

For some forms of strabismus, eye surgery may be recommended by an ophthalmologist. This procedure changes the position of the eye muscles may result in cosmetic alignment, but it does not change how your brain USES your eyes, which is why the eyes often ‘go back’ to the previous turned position. The success of strabismus surgery is much higher when vision therapy is performed before and after the surgery. Read more about strabismus surgery.

Types of Strabismus

Eye turn OUT – Exotropia

When one eye turns out toward the ear (away from the nose) while the other eye remains aligned, this is called exotropia. This condition usually appears between age 2-6, although it can appear later in life as well. Often exotropia is intermittent, only occurring some of the time, and this has a very good prognosis for treatment with vision therapy. Read more about exotropia.

Eye turn IN – Esotropia

When one eye turns in toward the nose while the other eye remains aligned, this is called esotropia. This condition usually appears between the ages of 2 months and 3 years of age, although it can appear later in life as well. Children with esotropia often develop a lazy eye that does not see as well. With an esotropia that is severe and starts early in life, surgery may be necessary to achieve eye alignment in addition to vision therapy. Read more about esotropia.

Eye turn UP (Hypertropia) or Eye turn DOWN (Hypotropia)

When an eye drifts up or down, this is a vertical strabismus. Often this type of strabismus varies depending on if the individual is looking up, down, left or right. The age of onset is variable, but if early onset there is a higher risk of developing a lazy eye. Working to bring one eye up or down is VERY hard work for the eye muscles! While vision therapy can help restore eye alignment, sometimes glasses with prism are used as well. Read more about vertical strabismus.

Can strabismus be treated later in life with vision therapy? YES!

Sue Barry, a professor of neurobiology, is just one example of a person with strabismus who gained depth perception as an adult. This amazing experience takes dedication and work to achieve, but it is well worth it! Visit Sue Barry’s website  that she has dedicated to her story, or watch a 3D vision workshop with Sue Barry as she talks about her experience with vision therapy.

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