What is Strabismus?
Strabismus is an eye condition that is commonly known as cross eyes. It can affect anyone although it happens most often in children. According to Penn Medicine, up to 5% of the population at some point becomes affected by the condition. Strabismus develops into a misalignment of the eyes. The eyes may be turning inward, known as esotropia, or outward known as exotropia. Another type of strabismus is hypertropia wherein the eyes are vertically misaligned.
When the eyes become aligned properly, the eyes focus on a single image which fuses into a single vision. With the condition or because of misalignment of the eyes, a person with strabismus does not have normal vision. Instead, they see different images or have double vision, one from the left eye and one from the right eye. Young children or children below the age of six do not have double vision because their young brains cancel out one of the two images in favor of the other.
What is Amblyopia?
Amblyopia is most commonly known as lazy eye. Amblyopia occurs in early childhood and is detected by a primary physician during a newborn checkup. In amblyopia, one of both of the eyes fails to develop properly resulting in a vision problem in one of both eyes. Several possible causes exist of amblyopia such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, eye diseases such as cataracts, and strabismus.
In children, one of the most common causes of amblyopia is strabismus. This is the reason why many people mistakenly believe that lazy eye is the same as strabismus. The fact is amblyopia can be caused by strabismus, but it is not the same. Strabismus may therefore result in amblyopia because of the misalignment of the eyes and result in the developing brain to cancel one of the visions in any of the eyes to favor the other.
The Importance of Seeing an Eye Specialist in cases of Strabismus and Amblyopia
It is very important for parents to know about amblyopia and strabismus. In the case of amblyopia that is caused by strabismus, it is not just a matter of having misaligned eyes. Although strabismus can be treated surgically or non-surgically, when it comes to amblyopia, young children who have the condition may fail to develop the ability to see normally in the affected eye. This is because it is during the first years of life that the visual center of the brain develops. Thus the affected eye, without treatment, will lose its vision permanently. Thus, it is important to bring your child to an eye specialist immediately if you notice any vision problems or crossing of the eyes as it can be a sign of strabismus or amblyopia.
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About the Author
Amjad Khokhar, M.D. is Chief LASIK Surgeon at Sugarland Eye & Laser Center. Add Dr. Khokhar on Google+ here.
What is Strabismus?