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In strabismus, the eyes are misaligned because the muscles that control them do not work together. As one eye looks ahead, the other turns inward, outward, down or up, giving the appearance of “crossed eyes” or a “wandering eye.”

Strabismus affects as many as four percent of children under age six. This condition can also develop in adults of any age or can continue from childhood. In children and adults, the symptoms can be constant or can come and go, and they can shift between eyes.

The cause of strabismus is usually unknown, but the condition can run in families. In adults, strabismus is sometimes related to other conditions, including Graves’ disease (hyperthyroidism), stroke and trauma.

Strabismus causes the eyes to pick up two different images. In children, the brain quickly learns to ignore one of the images. If this happens, vision in the eye that is being ignored can decline, causing amblyopia (lazy eye). Early treatment of strabismus is important because after a certain time period, this vision loss becomes permanent.

Adults experience strabismus differently because their brains cannot “turn off” an eye. The results can include double vision, eye fatigue and loss of depth perception. In children and adults, strabismus often affects self-confidence and impairs social interactions.

Strabismus is a highly treatable condition in children and adults. We work with you and your family to develop a personalized treatment plan to eliminate strabismus. Many options are available for helping your eye muscles work together. Treatment can help you or your child to have better eyesight and increased confidence.

Early treatment of strabismus is especially important in children. If strabismus is not corrected before about age eight or nine, the brain can learn to ignore the misaligned eye, causing permanent vision loss in that eye. Adults are not at risk of this problem, but may experience double vision. The best treatment depends on many factors, including the cause and severity of the strabismus.

At Indiana University Health, we have the skill and experience to diagnose and treat all types of strabismus. As part of the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute is a leading eye health research center, with faculty members investigating better ways to manage strabismus and many other conditions.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Strabismus Treatment Information

We treat strabismus in children and adults. Options include:

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Strabismus Support Services

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