Strabismus is an eye disorder, wherein the eyes fail to line up properly, while focusing on a particular point. Go through this article for some information about the treatment for this condition.
Strabismus is an eye disorder, that can be congenital or acquired. It can also develop as a secondary condition to some other disease or medical condition, like cataract. Many children are born with this condition, that is characterized by misaligned eyes. Strabismus is also known as crossed eyes, squint, or wall eyes. Those affected with this condition, fail to align their eyes properly under normal conditions.
Types of Strabismus
It can be noticed that one or both the eyes may turn in or out, or up and down. Such eye movements or turns can be constant (moving always) or intermittent (during specific conditions, like illnesses or stressful times). If the eye movements are towards the nose, the condition is called ‘esotropic’, and if the movements are outwards, it is called ‘exotropic’. Both these movements are categorized as horizontal strabismus.
The vertical upward movement is ‘hypertropia’ and downward movement is ‘hypotropia’. These are types of vertical strabismus, which are not as common as the horizontal ones. Strabismus could be due to a brain disorder that results in faulty coordination of the eyes, or a disorder of extraocular muscles.
Studies show that almost 5% of children are born with some degree of strabismus. It is recommended that the condition must be diagnosed as early as possible, and the treatment should not be delayed. This is very important, as a delay in treatment may eventually lead to vision loss. Strabismus treatment is mainly aimed at strengthening the weakened muscles, realigning the eyes, preserving vision, and restoring binocular vision. Treatment involves medicines, glasses, patches, eye exercises, botulinum toxin, or even surgery.
Glasses and Drugs
In mild cases, wherein the eyes are misaligned slightly, glasses are prescribed as treatment. Wearing such glasses, and using special eye drops can correct the condition. Some of the affected children may need special lenses called prisms, for treating strabismus. Medicines are prescribed in the form of eye drops. Usually, atropine and miotics are used to treat the muscles that control the focusing ability of the eye. Miotics are used when inability to focus is the cause of strabismus. Atropine is mainly used in case of poor vision in one eye. This medicine is used for achieving a blurred vision in the good eye. This forces the affected person to use the weaker eye, so as to improve its power.
Drug Patches and Eye Exercises
Another treatment option is eye patches, which are primarily used as a treatment for amblyopia (poor or indistinct vision of an eye), which is otherwise called lazy eye. This condition can either be caused by strabismus, or can be the cause of strabismus. This treatment method uses a patch to cover the stronger eye, so that the weaker eye is used more.
While using eye patches, follow the instructions of the physician very carefully. It should be used for the recommended period only, and its use after the stipulated period may lead to amblyopia in the stronger eye. Eye exercises are also found to be beneficial in treating the condition. However, eye exercises alone may not be sufficient for such treatment. So, it is combined with other methods, like surgery.
Botulinum Toxin and Surgery
Botulinum toxin is a drug that can temporarily restrain a muscle from contraction. This results in relaxation of the muscle, which in turn makes the opposing muscle to change the position of the eye. These drugs, which are given through injections, may cause side effects, like vision problems. It is not given as a single treatment, but is used after surgery, which fails to correct the misalignment of the eyes completely. If all other treatment methods, like glasses and patches fail, surgery is recommended by doctors. However, botulinum injection remains to be one of the controversial methods, as far as strabismus treatment is concerned.
It can be said that surgery is an effective method to align the eyes, and to restore vision. It is commonly used as a treatment for strabismus in children. Such surgery is performed to loosen or tighten the muscles that control the alignment of the eyes. This is achieved by altering the length or position of these muscles. It may also happen that more than one surgery is required to correct the eye problem. Usually, surgery is not recommended for adults with strabismus. In such cases, treatment is decided according to the underlying cause.
In case of mild or intermittent strabismus, treatment is not required, but if the condition is progressing, it should be treated at the earliest, in order to avoid complications. While some doctors recommend early surgery for treating this eye condition in infants, others prefer surgery after two years of age. However, strabismus in children (and even adults) is a condition which requires early detection and treatment, so as to prevent complications like vision loss. So, if you notice any such symptom in your child, take him/her to an ophthalmologist immediately.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.