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Strabismus / Eye Turn

Strabismus is a change in the alignment of the eyes resulting in the appearance of a turned eye. 

This is often mistakenly called a 'lazy eye' however they are not the same thing (see 'Amblyopia')  

Eye turns can have many presentations:

  • inwards (esotropia)

  • outwards (exotropia)

  • up (hypertropia), or

  • down (hypotropia)

Some eye turns are constant and others only happen under certain circumstances, for example with glare or when you're very tired. But they all have one similarity, they disrupt binocularity

Binocularity is ability to use both eyes at the same time to create a single image with depth perception - without it a person does not see 3-D.

Strabismus can be caused by:

  • problems with the 6 external muscles around the eyeball

  • the nerves between the brain and the 6 external muscles, or

  • a breakdown in the binocular skills that assist the eye movements.

Strabismus can be managed with glasses and prisms, and treated using patching and vision therapy exercises. When diagnosed and treated early, children have a high success rate in correcting the eye posture and maintaining this long term. 

In some extreme cases surgery can be considered to help the appearance of an eye turn, however this has little effect on the outcome of binocularity (or 3D vision). As such, surgery is not often recommended before vision therapy to assess the ability for binocular vision. 

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