Photograph used by permission of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health
What causes strabismus?Experts do not completely understand the cause of strabismus. However, strabismus results from failure of the eye muscles to work together. The brain controls the eye muscles, which are attached to the outside of each eye. About 50 percent of children with strabismus are born with it. There appears to be a higher incidence of strabismus in children with disorders that affect the brain, such as cerebral palsy or hydrocephalus. Strabismus may also occur later in life as a result of an illness, cataract, or eye injury.
All forms of strabismus have been found to cluster in families. Siblings and children of an individual with strabismus may have an increased chance to also develop it, however, a single inherited cause has not been identified.
What are the symptoms of strabismus?
The symptoms of strabismus may resemble other medical conditions. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.
How is strabismus diagnosed?Early detection and treatment can prevent permanent visual impairment. Strabismus is diagnosed during an eye examination. Eye examinations are recommended for all children by the age of 3. However, if your child is having symptoms of strabismus or other eye disorders at any age, a complete eye examination should be performed.
Treatment for strabismus:Specific treatment for strabismus will be determined by your child's physician based on:
- your child's age, overall health, and medical history
- the extent of the disease
- the cause of the disease
- your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the disease
- your opinion or preference
- eye drops
- surgery to straighten the eyes
- eye exercises
- eye patch over the strong eye (if amblyopia is present) to improve the weak eye
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