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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What causes strabismus?

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    Tania Straga

    Orthoptist

    I am an orthoptist that specialises in ocular motility disorders, paediatric vision assessment and double vision assessment. I work alongside a neuro-ophthalmologist, paediatric ophthalmologist and … View Profile

    There are several causes of strabismus. The most common types are:

    • Infantile Esotropia - this is an inward turning of the eye. It occurs in very young children and is usually not associated with any refractive error. Usually this form of strabismus is treated with surgery.
    • Accomodative (and partially accomodative) Esotropia - this is an inward turning of the eye associated with hypermetropia (long sightedness). The prescription and wearing of appropriate spectacles either partially or fully corrects the strabismus.
    • Exotropia - this is an outward turning of the eye that usually occurs when the child is looking to the distance. It can occur at any stage in childhood, and can be present all the time or only part of the time.
    • Hypertropia - this is when one of the eyes is aligned higher than the other eye, and can be a sign of a number of different eye movement disorders.
    • Third, Forth and/or Sixth Cranial Nerve palsies - these cause an inward, outward, downward and/or upward turning of the eye which is different in different positions of gaze, and needs to be investigated thoroughly by an ophthalmologist.
    All types of strabismus need to be investigated as early as possible by a qualified professional. Often strabismus is also associated with amblyopia (lazy eye or poor vision) which is best treated in early childhood. An optometrist, orthoptist or ophthalmologist will be able to help with this.

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