What is Strabismus?

Strabismus occurs when your eyes are unable to stay properly aligned and work together to look at the same object. Other common terms for Strabismus are “crossed eyes” or “wandering eye.”

Strabismus has a number of causes but occurs when the twelve eye muscles which control eye movement have some kind of anatomical or neurological issue which hinders the coordination of these muscles.

The eye which is unable to stay aligned can be misaligned inward, outward, upward, or downward. It can be a constant occurrence or sporadic and the eye that is misaligned may alternate.

Strabismus is common at birth or during early childhood. Strabismus becomes even more common in adults due to strokes, neurologic disease, trauma, thyroid conditions, and persistent childhood strabismus.  Eye misalignments can affect depth perception, cause double vision, limit the field of vision, and have damaging effects on social interaction.  Strabismus is a medical problem, and its diagnosis and treatment are typically covered by medical insurance.

 How Strabismus is diagnosed

Dr. Abroms, at ADV Vision, completed subspecialty fellowship training in strabismus.  This is a specialty in relatively short supply, and Dr. Abroms is one of only a few ophthalmologists between Los Angeles and San Francisco with this specialized training.  A strabismus exam by Dr. Abroms involves measuring eye alignment and tracking with prisms, a painless examination.

Treatment: Strabismus Surgery and Benefits

Strabismus surgery is often required to correct the misalignment and ensure normal vision. Strabismus surgery can restore the normal appearance of eyes as well as improve vision, depth perception, and eliminate or minimize double vision. It is never too late to undergo strabismus surgery, even if prior strabismus surgeries have been performed.  Dr. Abroms has performed many thousands of such procedures on patients as old as their 80’s and 90’s.

The improvement in depth perception that results from strabismus surgery can significantly improve the quality of vision and can even lessen falls and accidents. There are many untrue myths that strabismus treatment is purely cosmetic, that the condition cannot be fixed, or that treatment will cause permanent double vision.

How Strabismus Surgery Works

Strabismus Surgery changes the alignment of your eye muscles by loosening or tightening them. The eye muscles are a complicated pulley system and repositioning them changes the alignment of the eyes and corrects the misalignment. Surgery may be performed on one or both eyes, typically under general anesthesia. The eye muscles are accessed behind your eyelids.

Strabismus Surgery Recovery

Strabismus surgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure and takes about an hour. The eyes are red after surgery, but there usually is not much pain.  Most patients can return to normal activities within a week after surgery.