Strabismus, commonly referred to as crossed eyes, is a visual condition that affects the alignment of both eyes, leading to difficulty in focusing on a single point. This misalignment can result in double vision (diplopia) and may impact a person’s visual function and overall quality of life. While strabismus can manifest from birth or develop later in life, its exact causes can vary, and identifying them may not always be straightforward. Dr David Stager delves deeper into the common causes of strabismus among adults today.
Understanding Strabismus: A Condition of Misaligned Eyes
Strabismus occurs when both eyes are unable to focus together on the same object, causing one eye to deviate from its proper alignment. This misalignment can lead to the brain receiving conflicting visual signals from the two eyes, resulting in double vision. Strabismus is not a disease but rather a collection of conditions that can arise at any age. It can affect one or both eyes and may be constant or intermittent, meaning the misalignment may occur consistently or vary in its appearance.
The Complex Causes of Strabismus
Determining the precise cause of strabismus in adults can be challenging due to the interplay of multiple factors. Strabismus can have genetic, environmental, or medical origins, making each case unique and requiring individualized evaluation.
In some instances, the cause of strabismus is evident and identifiable through thorough eye examinations or genetic testing. A family history of strabismus can indicate a hereditary link, suggesting that the condition may be inherited from parents or siblings. Genetic mutations in specific genes have also been associated with an increased risk of developing strabismus.
Congenital Strabismus: Present from Birth or Early Development
Congenital strabismus refers to cases where the condition is present from birth or develops shortly thereafter. This form of strabismus can arise due to malformations of the brain or eyes, leading to improper alignment. For example, esotropia occurs when one eye turns inward, while exotropia involves one eye turning outward. In certain cases of congenital strabismus, surgical intervention may be recommended to correct vision problems associated with the misalignment.
Acquired Strabismus: Development in Adulthood
Acquired strabismus, as the name suggests, develops later in life and may have different underlying causes. This type of strabismus can arise due to factors such as trauma, brain injuries, neurological conditions, or complications from other eye disorders. Certain medical conditions, including diabetes and thyroid disorders, have also been linked to acquired strabismus.
Seeking Professional Evaluation for Proper Diagnosis
If an adult notices any signs of strabismus, such as misaligned eyes or double vision, seeking prompt evaluation from an eye care specialist is crucial. A comprehensive eye examination, including tests to assess eye muscle function and coordination, will help determine the specific type and cause of strabismus.
Strabismus in adults can arise from various factors, and its causes can be complex and multifaceted. From congenital cases present from birth to acquired strabismus developing later in life, identifying the exact cause may not always be straightforward. Seeking the expertise of an experienced eye care specialist, like Dr David Stager, is essential for a comprehensive evaluation and tailored treatment plan. Early detection and appropriate management of strabismus can lead to improved visual function and a better quality of life for adults affected by this condition.