Strabismus is when the eyes are not lined up correctly.
In strabismus, the brain may get a blurry image from the eye that is not lined up correctly. To avoid double vision, the brain ignores the image from that eye. If strabismus is not corrected, this can lead to "lazy eye" (amblyopia) with low vision. Strabismus and amblyopia are closely related and often occur together.
One eye may appear to turn in (called esotropia), out (exotropia), up (hypertropia), or down (hypotropia). You might hear strabismus called "crossed eyes" (when the eye turns in) or "walleye" (when the eye turns out).
Strabismus can be constant or might come and go; it might affect one eye only or switch from one eye to the other. Those with a family history of strabismus may be at an increased risk for the condition.
Treatment depends on the type of strabismus. To improve vision and to line the eyes up properly, a child may need glasses, an eye patch, or eye drops to treat a lazy eye. Sometimes, eye exercises are prescribed. Strabismus can cause vision problems if not treated. If those treatments do not help the eyes line up correctly, surgery may be recommended.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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