Strabismus or crossed eyes is defined as an eye ailment wherein the eyes point in different directions. It is also referred to as squint. Even though it can affect the human eye at any age, it is particularly common in infants and young children. It is characterised by misaligned eyes in which the eyes are unable to see or view the same object at the same time. Another peculiar feature of this eye ailment is that it can either occur at irregular intervals of time or occur at periodic intervals.
Types of Strabismus
Just like the majority of eye diseases, Strabismus or squint is often divided into different types based on the direction of misalignment. Ophthalmologists have divided this ocular disease into the following categories:
- Esotropia or convergent strabismus –
Wherein one eye looks straight ahead, and the other is turned inward towards the nose.
- Exotropia or divergent strabismus –
Characterised by one eye pointing outward in the direction of the ears while one eye looks straight.
- Hypotropia –
Involves a downward turn of one eye.
- Hypertropia –
Distinguished by an upward turn of an eye.
Among these, esotropia is the most common type of squint and takes varied forms like infantile esotropia that is present at the time of birth or affects infants within the first six months after birth. Infants affected by infantile esotropia may have a family history of strabismus. Further, children impacted by other diseases like cerebral palsy or hydrocephalus are at a higher risk of getting affected by this disease in comparison to their healthier counterparts.
Another common type of esotropia is known as accommodative esotropia that impacts children who have a farsighted vision. It is usually diagnosed between the age of 2 to 3 years.
What causes strabismus or squint?
Childhood strabismus is generally not associated with any causes and is a hereditary ailment. Young children get affected by this ocular disease when their eyes try to compensate for other vision problems like farsightedness or cataract. Other factors that can make young children and infants more susceptible to this ocular disease include Down’s syndrome, premature birth or because of conditions that impact the nerves or muscles. Head injury is another common cause of strabismus in infants and young children.
In the case of adults, strabismus can occur as a result of eye vessel damage. Botulism, tumour, Guillain-Barré syndrome and nerve disorders can also be a few underlying causes of it.
Do you have misaligned eyes? Go for strabismus surgery
The earliest known strabismus surgery was performed in the year 1839 and even though there are various non-surgical treatments available for strabismus, undergoing a strabismus surgery is an effective way to get rid of this disease. Eye experts recommend strabismus surgeries based on factors like types of strabismus, diplopia or double vision and ocular traumas.
Strabismus surgery is done on an outpatient basis and is undertaken to alter the eye alignment by making the eye muscles loose or tight. While performing a strabismus surgery, an eye surgeon makes conjunctiva (a transparent tissue that covers the eye muscles) incision and isolates the eye muscles. It should be noted that strabismus surgery does not involve eyeball removal or skin incisions.
Loosening or weakening procedures that are used in strabismus surgery include recession that involves the insertion of a muscle at the posterior end. Myectomy, myotomy, tenectomy, and tenotomy are the other approaches that eye experts take for performing successful strabismus surgeries.
Strengthening procedures that are performed for a strabismus surgery include resection that is defined as detaching the eye muscles and removing a portion of the muscle from the distal end of the muscle. The muscles are then reattached to the affected eye. Tucking is another tightening process that is undertaken by ophthalmologists. Advancement procedure is also a tightening process that involves moving the eyeball to a more forward position. Other strabismus surgeries that are performed include transpositioning and repositioning.
Preventive measures after strabismus surgery.
Eye experts advise people to avoid strenuous activities after surgery. They should also sleep with their heads elevated for around a week to avoid complications like pain and swelling. A cold compress or ice bags can also be used for reducing swelling. Few people might also be advised to take regular medications in the form of eyes drops or ointments along with undertaking regular eye exercise.
Want expert advice on strabismus? Reach our team of eye doctors today to get the best in class eye treatment. With a pan India presence and state of the art technology, we at Centre for Sight provide treatment for various ocular diseases that range from strabismus to corneal diseases.
Article:Facing vision problems due to misaligned eyes? Here’s the lowdown on strabismus surgery
Author: CFS Editorial Team | Sept 14 2020 | UPDATED 04:10 IST
*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.