Categories: ConditionsProcedures

Crossed Eyes (Strabismus) – Causes and Treatments – A Q&A with Dr. Patel

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What is Strabismus?

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Strabismus is a general term used to describe any misalignment of the eyes. It can occur in the context of childhood eye diseases (amblyopia or “lazy eye), or problems acquired in adulthood, including trauma, thyroid eye disease, nerve damage, or neurological disorders. Strabismus can be very debilitating, mainly from double vision. Importantly, strabismus can be an early sign of severe ocular, orbital or neurological disease.

What Causes Crossed Eyes in Children?

In some cases strabismus can be inherited (congenital) or result from vision-related problems. In addition, since approximately half of the brain is involved in vision, certain neurological conditions can also cause strabismus, resulting from disordered communication between the brain and the muscles that move the eyes. Vision in children is highly sensitive to refractive errors (nearsightedness and farsightedness) and may also cause strabismus if left untreated.

What Causes Crossed Eyes in Adults?

Like in children, strabismus in adults can be inherited and may worsen over time. As such, we have helped many adults who have had complications or recurrences despite previous strabismus surgeries in the past. Adult strabismus may also result from neurological conditions such as stroke, tumors, degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, to name a few. We specialize in evaluating the nature and cause of strabismus in adults, as well as developing an appropriate plan for intervention.

What Treatments are Available for Strabismus?

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Children and adults may be treated differently. In children, strabismus can often be corrected using eye patching, eyeglasses, vision therapy and surgery. In adults, special lenses such as prisms can correct or improve double vision in some cases; however, surgery may also be required to correct the misalignment. Over the past few decades, strabismus surgery has advanced considerably. Here at USC we have the necessary experience and expertise to address even the most complex cases, using the latest techniques and up-to-date practices.

USC Roski Eye Institute Neuro-Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus Service

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Vivek R. Patel, MD, is an Associate Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology, Director of Neuro-Ophthalmology Service and Adult Strabismus specialist. He is also co-principal investigator for a $4 million grant from the National Eye Institute (NEI), leading a multidisciplinary team of investigators studying the relationship between the brain and blinding eye diseases.

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Kimberly K. Gokoffski, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus specialist. Her doctoral work and current active research investigations focus on exploring the use of electrical fields to guide regenerating nerves in the context of optic nerve disease. She is funded by the NEI’s K-grant system of mentored original research.

Schedule an Appointment at USC Roski Eye Institute Today

Please contact our USC Roski adult strabismus team today to treat misalignment of your eyes or double vision. The exceptional eye doctors at USC Roski Eye Institute are experts at diagnosing and treating a wide variety of eye conditions. To receive a comprehensive eye exam and ensure that your vision is protected please complete our online contact form or call 323-442-6335 today!

To learn more about a new funding initiative for children’s strabismus surgery or for donations, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu or by calling USC Roski Eye Institute.

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