Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)
When your two eyes do not work in alignment, it appears as if the two eyes are not looking at the same place at the same time. This is commonly known as ‘crossed eye’, a disorder called strabismus.
There are two kinds of strabismus:
Strabismus is caused by poor eye muscle control. Each eye is supported by six muscles which receive signals from the brain. In people with strabismus, eye movement control is not strong, leading to the affected eye turning in, out, up or down. Eventually, untreated strabismus leads to poor vision in the affected eye, since the brain gets conditioned to ignore the image from the affected eye as a response to the confusion created when two separate images are sent from both eyes. In severe cases, strabismus can lead to ‘lazy eye’, a condition known as amblyopia.
In most cases, however, this disorder will not affect your ability to see. Your peripheral (sideways) vision and depth perception may not be very sharp and you may have to strain your eyes to be able to see at times.
Strabismus is a common disorder in children, with some being born with it (congenital strabismus) and others acquiring it later on (acquired strabismus). People with a family history of strabismus, those with severe farsightedness, adults suffering from a brain disorder or diabetics are at increased risk of developing this condition.
If strabismus is not treated at the right time in children, it continues into adulthood. Most adults who have strabismus were born with it. In some cases, adults may develop strabismus later in life due to another serious disorder, such as a stroke or, in less serious cases, an eye injury. Sudden onset of strabismus later in adulthood must be evaluated immediately by a doctor.