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Strabismus FAQs

Strabismus FAQs

Before Your Surgery or Treatment

What is Strabismus?
Strabismus is a lack of alignment in the eyes. Eyes with Strabismus may be turned inwards (Esotropia), shifted outwards (Exotropia), or downwards or upwards (Hypertropia).

What is Esotropia?
This is an inward deviation of the eyes that can occur congenitally. That is, from birth through 6 months of age. Esotropia is usually a large deviation that requires prompt attention.

Can this deviation in the eye cause problems in vision?
The eye, suffering from this inwards deviation, will not develop adequately since its entire visual pathway is affected by it. As a consequence, the eye starts to lose its vision, every day, more and more. If this deviation is left untreated by an Ophthalmologist until adulthood, the eye(s) will not be able to recover.

How can Exotropia be avoided?
As soon as the condition is detected, the child suffering from Exotropia should be taken to an Ophthalmologist and treated. Lens correction or surgery can both prevent eyesight damage from progressing and allow vision to be restored if it is caught and treated early enough. This will give the child a chance for adequate vision development.

What is Exotropia?
This outward deviation of the eyes is very common among children and usually shows itself around 1 year of age, though it can also occur when the child is around 4 or 5. Exotropia sometimes shows itself intermittently. That is, eyes will be occasionally normal with the outward deviation happening sporadically.

When does Exotropia become a problem?
It becomes a problem when the deviation starts occurring more frequently.

What is the treatment for this deviation?
Exotropia can be treated through visual therapy, glasses, or surgery performed by an Ophthalmologist.

Can Strabismus eye deviations fade with time as a child ages?
During the first 4 months of life, Strabismus can be temporary. During the first few months, the brain is not fully mature, and the child may present a deviation in their eyes. However, after the first 4 months of life, the child’s eyes should not deviate. If they do, it is not something that will go away on its own. At this point, Strabismus requires visual therapy, glasses, and sometimes treatment with botulinum toxins (Botox) or surgery. It depends on each child and their particular case.

If a child crosses their eyes deliberately, for a long time, could they cause Strabismus? Will their eyes stay that way permanently?
No, children can cross their eyes on purpose and return to normal as if nothing had happened. 

What is Acquired Strabismus?
These are cases in which deviation occurs in children or adults suddenly; one day a 7-year-old child might wake up with a deviated eyesight, saying they see double. This is not normal, and there may be multiple causes: these can range from a virus to a tumor in the head, and they need to be immediately evaluated by an Ophthalmologist.

Is Acquired Strabismus normal?
No, it is not normal for a child whose vision was fine after their first 4 months of life to have a sudden eye deviation. They require immediate medical assistance from an Ophthalmologist.

What are the other causes of Strabismus?
Many times, these outwards deviations occur when a child is not seeing well with one of their eyes. It can be due to a cataract, tumor, Retinal Detachment, or Congenital Strabismus. In many of these cases, Strabismus can be solved with glasses. Treatments for Strabismus can range from specialized glasses, and other sophisticated therapies to different forms of surgery, which is why only an Ophthalmologist specialized in Strabismus can evaluate this condition.

What about Strabismus in adults?
Congenital Strabismus that has gone untreated into adulthood means that visual pathways never had the chance to develop normally, and that can never be undone. Acquired Strabismus in adults, as with children, must be checked by an Ophthalmologist immediately since there are several possible underlying causes that could be extremely serious.

What are the risks of Strabismus developing during childhood? 
If this condition develops in childhood: when an eye deviates, none of its visual pathways develop. If the child reaches maturity (adult age), this visual pathway will never develop.

Is there anything an adult can do if they have suffered Strabismus since childhood?
They can get a cosmetic correction of their deviation. This won’t improve vision, as vision recovery is not possible at this point, however, cosmetically, they will be able to look straight, and their eyes appear normal without showing the deviation. It can help improve self-esteem, work relations, and life satisfaction in general.

What are the causes of Acquired Strabismus in adults?
Some of the main causes of Acquired Strabismus are: a spike in Diabetes, Hypertension, Myringitis, infection, virus, and brain tumor.

Post Procedure Recovery and Care

If I undergo surgery for Strabismus, when will I be able to return to my normal activities?
It is recommended that you “rest relatively” during the first 2 weeks. Relative rest means to take it easy. Lay down but also wander around your house without going out. It is okay by the fifth or sixth day to go outside with sunglasses, to protect yourself from sunlight and dust.

Visit our pages on the Strabismus condition, as well as treatments and surgery for more details.

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