Crossed eyes or Strabismus as it is medically termed, is a condition in which both eyes do not look at the same place at the same time. It occurs when an eye turns in, out, up or down and is usually caused by poor eye muscle control or a high amount of farsightedness.
There are six muscles attached to each eye that control how it moves. The muscles receive signals from the brain that direct their movements. Normally, the eyes work together so they both point at the same place. When problems develop with eye movement control, an eye may turn in, out, up or down. The eye turning may be evident all the time or may appear only at certain times such as when the person is tired, ill, or has done a lot of reading or close work. In some cases, the same eye may turn each time, while in other cases, the eyes may alternate turning.
Maintaining proper eye alignment is important to avoid seeing double, for good depth perception, and to prevent the development of poor vision in the turned eye. When the eyes are misaligned, the brain receives two different images.
Strabismus is classified by the direction the eye turns:
-> Inward turning is called esotropia
-> Outward turning is called exotropia
-> Upward turning is called hypertropia
-> Downward turning is called hypotropia
Treatment for strabismus may include eyeglasses, prisms, vision therapy, or eye muscle surgery. If detected and treated early, strabismus can often be corrected with excellent results.