Common Types of Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)

Strabismus, also known as crossed eyes, is a condition where your eyes do not align. One eye usually turns in the opposite direction from the other eye. People with strabismus cannot maintain a normal ocular alignment or control eye movement like people under normal eye conditions whose eye muscles work together. There are different types of strabismus, and the following are the common ones.



Pseudoesotropia is when the eyes appear crossed but have a straight alignment. It is an optic illusion that can occur due to the morphological facial features of the patient. For example, children with an Asiatic descent have it due to the prominence of their epicanthal folds. There are other risk factors such as vertical eyelid asymmetry because of conditions such as thyroid eye disease.

Pseudoesotropia has no known treatment. Children usually outgrow it. Ensure you take your child for pediatric eye evaluations every six months to check the state of their eye health. 


Congenital Esotropia

Esotropia is when one or both eyes turn inwards. Congenital esotropia is also called infantile esotropia. It onsets during the first six months of a child's life. The condition presents itself as an angle of esodeviation in children that one can see from across the room. 

Children with congenital esotropia usually struggle to use their two eyes simultaneously. If one eye turns more times than the other, it increases the risk of developing amblyopia in the very active eye. Amblyopia occurs when input from one eye becomes ignored by the brain. The risk of amblyopia decreases if the infant uses both eyes actively for equal amounts of time.

Your doctor may recommend surgery as the appropriate treatment. Patients below two years old who undergo surgery have a better visual prognosis for the condition. A second surgery can happen if the eyes do not align sufficiently from the first procedure.


Intermittent Exotropia

Intermittent exotropia is an eye misalignment where one or both eyes turn outwards. One eye remains looking straight ahead while the other turns towards the ear. The cause of the condition is unknown. However, doctors believe that it happens due to the brain being unable to control the positioning of the eyes.

Your doctor will recommend treatment based on the severity of the condition and the desires of the parents. If the eye movements are mild, observation may be enough. There are times the disorder stays the same over a long period or becomes better. If it gets worse, your doctor may recommend treatments such as eye exercises, eye muscle surgery, eyeglasses, or using eye patches.


Accommodative Esotropia

Accommodative esotropia develops when the relationship between focusing and converging muscles become abnormal. The primary sign of the condition is the crossing of the eyes. You can see the evidence when your child focuses on seeing near objects or when the child is ill or tired.

Some children may squint, continually rub one eye, or complain about having double vision. Treatment usually involves wearing prescription contacts or eyeglasses.



There is no known way of preventing strabismus. Your doctor can help stop further complications if they detect the condition early enough. Your children should have eye screening and examination as early as six months of age.

For more on common types of strabismus, visit Bernstein Center for Visual Performance at our office in White Plains, New York. Call (914) 682-8886 to schedule an appointment today.

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