Strabismus, more commonly known as squint, cross-eyed or wall-eyed, is a vision condition in which a person cannot align both eyes simultaneously under normal conditions. One or both of the eyes may turn in, out, up or down. An eye turn may be constant (when the eye turns all of the time) or intermittent (turning only some of the time). Strabismus does not go away on its own and hence needs to be taken seriously and treated.

Different types of strabismus:

Strabismus is most commonly described by the direction of the eye misalignment; common types of strabismus being esotropia, exotropia, hypotropia, and hypertropia. Strabismus can also be described by its cause. The 3 cranial nerves (III, IV, VI) responsible for eye movement can be weak or palsied and cause strabismus. Some examples of paralytic strabismus include third nerve palsy and superior oblique palsy. Special patterns of strabismus can have unique names such as Brown syndrome and Duane syndrome.

Types of horizontal strabismus:

Esotropia is inward turning of the eyes. Types of esotropia include infantile esotropia, accommodative esotropia, and sixth nerve palsy. Exotropia is the term used to describe outward turning of the eyes.

Types of vertical strabismus:

The terms hypertropia and hypotropia are used to describe vertical misalignment. Hypertropia is an abnormal eye higher than the normal eye. Hypotropia is when the abnormal eye is lower than the normal eye. The terms can generally be interchanged.

Causes of strabismus:

Most strabismus is the result of an abnormality of the poorly understood neuromuscular (including brain) control of eye movement. Less commonly, a problem with the actual eye muscle causes strabismus.

Strabismus in Children:

Eye misalignment can cause amblyopia in children. When the eyes are oriented in different directions, the brain receives 2 different visual images. The brain may ignore the image from the misaligned eye to avoid double vision, resulting in poor vision development of that eye. Also, an eye that sees poorly tends to be misaligned. Strabismus often occurs in children who are otherwise completely normal. However, disorders that affect the brain such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, hydrocephalus and brain tumor are more likely to develop strabismus.

Strabismus in Adults:

Stroke is the leading cause of strabismus in adults. Trauma, neurological problems, and Graves disease (thyroid eye disorders) are other common causes of strabismus.

Strabismus treatment:

The goal of strabismus treatment is to improve eye alignment which allows for the eyes to work together and in sync. Leading Ayurvedic Hospitals take extreme care while treating Strabismus, and aims to improve strength of eye muscles. An approach which includes eye exercises, improving eating habits to a nourishing and balanced diet, ayurvedic eye treatments like nethradhara, tharpana and eye massages and ayurvedic oral medicines are very powerful in correcting this abnormality.

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