Adult Strabismus

Can anything be done for adults with strabismus (misaligned eyes)?

Yes. Adults can benefit from some of the same treatment options that are available to children for treating strabismus. Treatment options may include prismatic glasses and surgery. Most adults with misaligned eyes are able to have successful surgical correction.

Why do adults get strabismus?

Adults may have strabismus either from a residual childhood strabismus or they may acquire strabismus in adulthood. New strabismus that develops in an adult can result from conditions such as thyroid eye disease, stroke or tumors and trauma.

Is eye straightening as an adult strictly cosmetic?

No. Eye alignment surgery is performed in adults for several reasons. Adults frequently have disabling double vision because of eye misalignment. Surgery will likely improve the double vision and depth perception. Also, strabismus affects adults in emotional, social, and economical ways. Realigning the eyes can “reconstruct” the abnormal appearance of the eyes providing a better quality of life.

Is eye muscle surgery risky for adults?

Every surgical procedure has some risks. For strabismus surgery, the most common risks are residual misalignment of the eyes and double vision. Most double vision that occurs after strabismus surgery is temporary. Surgery is usually carried out under local anesthesia.

How successful is eye muscle surgery?

Most individuals have significant improvement in eye alignment with one surgery. Occasionally the surgery is only partially successful, or changes in ocular alignment may occur over time after initially successful surgery. Additional surgery may be indicated. Correction of residual double vision may be improved with the use of prism glasses.

How painful is this type of surgery?

Discomfort after eye muscle surgery is usually not severe. Headache, pulling sensation with eye movement and foreign body sensation in the eye are the most common complaints. These symptoms typically last only several days. Over-the-counter pain medication often reduces the discomfort, although stronger medication is sometimes prescribed. Most patients return to full activity in several days.

What age is considered “too old” to have eye muscle surgery?

Eyes can be straightened at any age and should be considered as a treatment option if it is likely to improve symptoms and enhance quality of life. In most cases, eye muscle surgery is a successful, safe, and effective treatment for strabismus in adults of all ages. The good news is that it is never too late for surgery. Even patients in their 90’s have benefited from surgical correction.

Yes. Recent studies confirm these observations. Misaligned eyes can hinder social interaction, self-confidence and employment opportunities. All individuals deserve straight eyes if possible.