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Strabismus - Crossed/Misaligned Eyes

Loyola’s ophthalmologists have the skills and expertise to correct crossed or misaligned eyes, a condition called strabismus, and restore patients’ vision and appearance. The goal of strabismus treatment is to restore normal, functional alignment of the eyes. Initial treatment may include the use of eye glasses, patches, eye exercise or medical eye drops. If these methods are unsuccessful, surgery often is the next option.

Strabismus surgery to straighten eyes is both safe and effective in children and adults, despite widespread misconceptions to the contrary.  Surgery  is outpatient and  usually only takes about  1 hour. Patients go home with no eye patches and return to work or school in about 1 week.  Many patients defer strabismus surgery for years, even though they are very bothered by the problem. Patients with crossed eyes since childhood or double vision have been mistakenly told that strabismus surgery does not work in adults. The vast majority of these adults can have their strabismus safely improved by surgery.

Strabismus is an eye muscle imbalance in the strength of the six muscles that work together to control each eye. Nearly 4 in 100 adults have strabismus; in most cases, adults have had strabismus since childhood.

People with strabismus can have an eye that crosses, an eye that drifts outward or upward, or lazy eyes. In some cases, strabismus is not readily visible, but it may be the cause of double vision or recurring eyestrain. The condition also can begin in adulthood due to medical conditions such as diabetes, Graves’ disease, myasthenia gravis or a stroke. Occasionally, strabismus develops following surgery performed on or around the eye for other issues such as cataracts or retinal surgery.

Corrective treatment allows for improved eye alignment, reduced or eliminated double vision, improvement or restoration of the use of both eyes together, reduced eye fatigue and expanded peripheral vision. Additionally, the ability to look others directly in the eyes may be the greatest emotional reward from strabismus correction.

Loyola’s ophthalmologists have completed thousands of successful strabismus surgeries.


  • Evaluation. The patient’s alignment and eye movements are carefully assessed and a surgical plan developed.
  • Basic approach. Treatment techniques for adults are similar to those used in children: The muscle or muscles are exposed, then either weakened or strengthened as needed to produce the new ocular alignment and function.
  • Adjustable sutures. The experts agree that using adjustable sutures during and after surgery helps reduce the risk of under- or overcorrection in adults.