Strabismus (Crossed Eyes), Causes and Treatment

child receiving an eye exam

Strabismus – the technical term for crossed eyes – is a condition where a person’s eyes don’t point in the same direction simultaneously. Typically, it presents with at least one eye pointing up, down, in, or out compared to the other. However, both eyes can be affected.  

If you wonder what causes strabismus and what treatment options are available, here’s what you need to know.  

Risk Factors for Strabismus  

Generally, strabismus is caused by poor eye muscle control or development. For childhood strabismus, the exact reason for its occurrence isn’t always known. However, the condition tends to run in families, which could suggest a genetic component.  

Certain medical conditions may make strabismus more likely in both children and adults. For example, any muscle or nerve impacting illness could increase the occurrence of strabismus, as well as premature birth. Connective tissue disorders may be responsible, as well as brain or eye tumors.  

Head injuries can also cause crossed eyes if the movement controlling muscles or nerves are damaged. Graves’ disease or a stroke can lead to the condition as well.  

For adults, blood vessel or eye damage can be responsible. Additionally, farsightedness, cataracts, or other conditions that cause the eyes to try and compensate for vision problems may lead to strabismus development.  

Strabismus Testing  

At times, identifying strabismus is fairly straightforward. If the eyes don’t point in the same direction, strabismus is the likely diagnosis.  

However, additional tests are usually conducted to confirm strabismus. For example, your eye doctor may take turns covering each eye, allowing them to assess how each one turns and to what degree. It also allows them to determine under which conditions the turn happens.  

Strabismus Treatment Options  

Several strabismus treatment options available, though which one is best may depend on the severity of the condition. For mild strabismus, glasses may be all that’s necessary. For example, the lens over the impacted eye can be made with a prism, alleviating any symptoms while wearing their glasses.  

In some cases, wearing a patch over the stronger eye (if one is unaffected) may help. It forces the weaker eye to do more work, potentially strengthening it and leading to better alignment. Certain kinds of eye exercises may also have a similar impact.  

For many cases, strabismus correction surgery is necessary. With this, the eye muscles are adjusted to improve alignment. After surgery, additional vision therapy may be needed to enhance eye coordination and reduce the chances of a reversion.  

If you or a loved one may have strabismus, it’s wise to make an appointment with your eye doctor right away. They can assess the severity of the condition and choose an appropriate treatment option, ensuring the misalignment is compensated for or corrected before it becomes more severe.  

Western New York’s Best Eye Doctors 

At ECVA, our staff works tirelessly to care for the eye health or our patients. If you suspect strabismus, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

A Big Thank You To Our Patients

Each year, ECVA hosts an annual basket raffle for the month of November to benefit a family in need at Christmas. The money raised gets matched by our physicians and this year, ECVA employees raised an amazing $7,410! 

Thanks to our patients and staff, we were able to adopt a local veteran family of 9 through Western New York Heroes which is a local veterans’ assistance organization. This would not have been possible without your support, so we want to say,  

Thank You for your generous donations! 

This is truly a rewarding experience that touches all of our hearts, particularly at the holidays and especially when we are able to assist those who served our country and their families. Our employees look forward to this project every year and are always eager to help out. 

Since starting our basket raffle in 2015, ECVA employees and partners have raised more than $31,000 to assist needy families throughout  Western New York. 

Thank you for your support.


Eye Care and Vision Associates

How to Tell If You Have a Scratched Cornea

person rubbing their eyes

The cornea is the thin, transparent outer layer of the eye that extends over the iris and pupil. Since it’s on the surface of the eye, it can sustain a direct injury.  

Corneal abrasions – or scratches on the cornea – can vary in severity. At times, the abrasion is relatively mild, causing only subtle symptoms. However, the scratches can be incredibly serious and may lead to additional problems, including corneal ulcers or iritis.  

Understanding the symptoms of a scratched cornea can help you determine if such an abrasion may cause any symptoms you’re experiencing. If you are wondering whether you have a scratched cornea, here’s what you need to know.  

Causes of a Scratched Cornea  

Generally speaking, scratched corneas can occur when something comes in contact with the surface of the eye. While it can be caused by a traumatic event, such as being intentionally or accidentally poked in the eye by a person or pet, those aren’t how must occur.  

Everyday incidental contact is a more likely culprit. For example, sand and dust getting into your eye could lead to abrasion, as well as debris from an industrial workplace. Makeup brushes can cause scratches as well, along with incorrectly removing a contact lens.  

Even dry eyes can be to blame. If your eyes get dry while sleeping, opening your eyelids in the morning can lead to abrasions due to the lack of moisture and the increased amount of friction.  

Essentially, anything that touches the cornea directly can damage the delicate tissue.  

Symptoms of a Scratched Cornea  

A scratched cornea can cause a range of symptoms, including:  

  • Eye Discomfort
  • A Gritty Sensation in the Eye
  • Eye Pain
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Excessive Tearing
  • Eye Redness
  • Blurry Vision
  • Headache

Mild abrasions may only produce mild symptoms, such as a general feeling of discomfort. The more severe the abrasions tend to be, the more noticeable symptoms often are. However, even a mild scratch can evolve into a more dangerous condition if not properly treated.  

Common Treatment for a Scratched Cornea  

If you suspect that you’ve scratched your cornea, it’s wise to take a few steps immediately. If you have scratched cornea symptoms, remove your contact lenses (if you wear them) carefully. Additionally, please don’t wear them again until your eye is fully healed.  

Flushing the eye with a saline solution is a smart move. That will help rinse out any dust, dirt, or debris, if any is present. After rinsing, blink multiple times to help remove the particles naturally.  

Resist the urge to rub your eyes. If any particles remain on the surface or embedded in the eye, rubbing can cause additional scratches or make an existing abrasion worse.  

When to Call a Doctor  

If you’ve rinsed your eye with saline and you’re still experiencing redness, pain, or the feeling that debris is stuck in your eye, seek immediate medical attention. A corneal abrasion can be incredibly serious, and prompt treatment is necessary to avoid further damage.  

Contact your optometrist or ophthalmologist right away for an emergency appointment. That way, they can evaluate your eye and determine if additional treatment is necessary.  

Your Eye Health is Our Priority 

At ECVA, our staff works tirelessly to care for our patients’ eyes, including evaluating and treating injuries as quickly as possible. If you suspect a corneal abrasion, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.