Strabismus is a disorder in which the two eyes do not line up in the same direction, and therefore do not look at the same object at the same time. The condition is more commonly known as "crossed eyes."
Crossed eyes; Esotropia; Exotropia; Hypotropia; Hypertropia; Squint; Walleye; Misalignment of the eyes; Comitant strabismus; Noncomitant strabismus
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Six different muscles surround the eyes and work "as a team" so that both eyes can focus on the same object.
In someone with strabismus, these muscles do not work together. As a result, one eye looks at one object, while the other eye turns in a different direction and is focused on another object.
When this occurs, two different images are sent to the brain -- one from each eye. This confuses the brain, and the brain may learn to ignore the image from the weaker eye.
If the strabismus is not treated, the eye that the brain ignores will never see well. This loss of vision is called
In most children with strabismus, the cause is unknown. In more than half of these cases, the problem is present at or shortly after birth (congenital strabismus).
Most of the time, the problem has to do with muscle control, and not with muscle strength.
Less often, problems with one of the nerves or muscles, or
Other disorders associated with strabismus include:
- Brain and nerve disorders, such as traumatic brain injury, stroke,
cerebral palsy, or Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Diabetes (causes a condition known as acquired paralytic strabismus)
Damage to the retinain children who are born premature
Hemangiomanear the eye during infancy
- Injuries to the eye
- Tumor in the brain or eye
- Vision loss from any eye disease or injury
A family history of strabismus is a risk factor.
Review Date: 07/28/2010
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.