Strabismus is the misalignment of one eye with respect to the other so that each eye looks in a different direction. Strabismus usually appears in childhood, but in some cases it may begin in adulthood.
Strabismus can be caused by an optical defect, being hyperopia more frequent, or by any ocular disease that produces a serious visual deficit, such as a cataract or even a tumor, by paralysis of the nerves in charge of moving the ocular muscles or by diseases of the muscles themselves. However, in the vast majority of cases of infantile strabismus no specific cause is found and it is considered that this strabismus is produced by a malfunction of the cerebral system in charge of the coordination of the ocular movement system.
It is important that the Ophthalmology specialist examines the child with strabismus as soon as possible to detect those cases that are caused by an ocular disease or an optical defect that require early treatment.
Strabismus in children, if left untreated, can produce a lazy eye that will be more difficult to solve the older the child is. When strabismus begins in adulthood, it produces double vision.
The treatment of strabismus consists, in the first place, in correcting the optical defect that may exist, then treating the lazy eye if it is under the age of 8-10 years, since at older ages it is almost impossible. Finally, if despite the above, the deviation still exists, a surgical intervention on the eye muscles should be performed to correct its position.
Surgical intervention can be performed at any age, not only in children but also in adults. The advisability of early surgery at around one year of age or later surgery at 4-6 years of age depends on the type of strabismus in question. Sometimes, more than one intervention is required, either because the deviated eye still persists after the intervention or because, although it was initially corrected, a new deviation has appeared over the years in adulthood. This strabismus that appears again years later can also be operated again.
Strabismus produces a defect in visual function, an aesthetic defect and, as a consequence, a psychological problem of self-esteem in adults that should not be disregarded.