What is Adult Strabismus?
Strabismus (“crossed eyes” or “wandering eyes”) is often thought of as a childhood condition, but it is estimated that it also affects up to 4% of adults. Strabismus in adults may be a recurrence or persistence of childhood strabismus, but very often it is new onset. New onset adult strabismus may be the result of a stroke or other neurologic condition or secondary to a systemic disease, but frequently no cause can be identified.
Symptoms of adult strabismus may include double vision, eye strain, fatigue, headaches, poor depth perception and decreased peripheral vision. Often these symptoms can be debilitating and cause significant problems with driving and work. Adults with strabismus often have difficulty maintaining eye contact, resulting in a negative impact on school performance, ability to find employment, and establishing social relationships. Adult strabismus is also associated with increased depression, anxiety and social phobia. Overall, adult strabismus can have a significant negative impact on a person’s quality of life.
Can Adult Strabismus be Treated?
Adult strabismus can usually be successfully treated. The course of treatment depends on the severity of symptoms, and the type and severity of strabismus. If symptoms are mild or intermittent, they can sometimes be managed with prism glasses or other non-surgical treatments. For many forms of adult strabismus, surgical correction can offer substantial improvement in symptoms and restoration of normal eye alignment. Unfortunately, many adult patients with strabismus have been misinformed that the condition is untreatable, or that treatment is considered merely cosmetic.
Is Adult Strabismus surgery considered cosmetic surgery?
No. Strabismus surgery is not a cosmetic procedure, and is typically covered by medical insurance to the same extent as any reconstructive procedure.
Is the surgery risky?
There is a common misconception that surgically treating adult strabismus may result in persistent double vision, so many patients are told it is too risky to perform. Persistent double vision after adult strabismus surgery is, in fact, exceedingly rare, and is not an indication to not pursue surgery. All specific surgical risks and benefits will be discussed in detail at the time of your evaluation.
If you are an adult with strabismus, please contact our office today to schedule an evaluation to determine your best treatment options.