Children's Hospital Colorado
Eye Care

Strabismus

Kids aren’t just mini adults. In fact, they’re incredibly different. That’s why they need incredibly different care.

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What is strabismus?

Strabismus occurs when the eyes are not aligned properly. One or both eyes can be turned inward (esotropia), outward (exotropia), upward (hypertropia), or downward (hypotropia). The misalignment can be constant or intermittent.

What causes strabismus?

Normally, the eyes work together so that they are aligned and point at the same target. For this to happen, all muscles in both eyes must be working together. The eye muscles are controlled by the brain. Strabismus occurs when there is a lack of coordination between the two eyes. As a result, the eyes point in different directions and are unable to focus on the same target. Other potential causes of strabismus include high farsightedness (hyperopia), cataracts, eye injury, and cranial nerve palsies.

Pediatric strabismus

It is estimated that up to 4% of the U.S. population has strabismus. Strabismus typically develops in infants and young children but can also occur in older children and adults. There is a higher risk of strabismus in children born prematurely or in children with conditions such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, craniosynostosis and hydrocephalus. There is also a higher risk of strabismus in children with a family history of strabismus.

Adult strabismus

Adults can have misaligned eyes as well. The misalignment may have been present from childhood or have a sudden onset. Sudden misalignment or double vision should be evaluated by your primary care provider because it may be caused by vascular or neurologic conditions and require quick evaluation and treatment. Your eye care provider should also evaluate this and may recommend an evaluation by an ophthalmologist at for prism treatment or strabismus (eye muscle) surgery.

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Get to know our pediatric experts.

Robert Enzenauer, MD, MPH/MSPH

Robert Enzenauer, MD, MPH/MSPH

Ophthalmology, Pediatrics

Rebecca Braverman, MD

Rebecca Braverman, MD

Ophthalmology

Emily McCourt, MD

Emily McCourt, MD

Ophthalmology

Jasleen Singh, MD

Jasleen Singh, MD

Ophthalmology