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Strabismus (crossed eyes) is caused by a lack of muscle coordination between the eyes, causing the eyes to point in different directions. The eyes are unable to focus simultaneously on a single point.
Strabismus may result from problems with the extraocular muscles (the six muscle pairs that move the eyes), problems with neurological control of the extra-ocular muscles, neurotoxins, blindness, mechanical problems in the eye, or mechanical obstruction to vision in one eye during early life. In adults, strabismus may be a symptom of various brain disorders or systemic diseases.
Surgery may be recommended when strabismus does not respond to medical or optical treatment.
Review Date 8/28/2018
Updated by: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.