Strabismus is a disorder in which the two eyes do not line up in the same direction, and therefore do not look at the same object at the same time. This condition is more commonly known as “crossed eyes” or “squint”.

Strabismus is a common condition among children and occurs equally in males and females. A family history of strabismus is a risk factor. It is a myth and belief that strabismus is lucky, but it has to be corrected at a very early age to prevent vision-loss in future.

How do the eyes work together?

Six different muscles surround each eye and work “as a team” so that both eyes can focus on the same object. In someone with strabismus, these muscles do not work together. As a result, one eye looks at one object, while the other eye turns in a different direction and is focused on another object. When this occurs, two different images are sent to the brain, one from each eye. This confuses the brain. In children, the brain may learn to ignore the image from the weaker eye.

If the strabismus is not treated, the eye that the brain ignores will never see well. This loss of vision is called amblyopia or “lazy eye.” Sometimes amblyopia is present first, and it causes strabismus.

In most children with strabismus, the cause is unknown. In more than half of these cases, the problem is present at or shortly after birth. This is called congenital strabismus. Most of the time, the problem has to do with muscle control, and not with muscle strength.

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