I gots strabismus. The muscles that move my eyes were formed very unevenly. Therefore, one eye was always off-axis. There is one baby picture of me in particular where this is fairly obvious: a small child wearing pajamas in your typical photographer's studio, a smile on his face, right eye looking straight ahead and the left one pointing towards his nose. It's the kind of thing you'd expect on the front of a card from the "humor" section of Hallmark, with some supposedly witty saying on the inside.

When I was two years old, I had surgery to correct this. While the treatment was successful, evidence of the disorder still exists. Since my eyes were not parallel during my early development, I never learned to see with depth perception. Sometimes I consider this a blessing: a head mounted display would cost half as much for me, and every movie is a 3D movie. To this day, if you see my eyes wander, you'll know that I'm tired, sad, or inebriated.
An abnormal condition in which one or the other eye diverges from the direction in which the gaze is directed; also called "squint." In strabismus a tendency exists for one eye to become the "master eye," and when the person looks at an object, it is fixed by the master eye while the other is seen to be directed in a slightly different direction. Squints may thus be divergent if the squinting eye looks away from the line of the master eye ("walleye"), or convergent if it looks towards the line of the master eye ("cross-eye").

Squints may be divided also into the concomitant squints (commonly seen in childhood), in which an imbalance exists in the strengths of the paired muscles that move the eyeball, and the rarer paralytic squints, in which there is a complete or partial paralysis of one or more muscles in the affected eye.

The appearance of a squint may lead the person to seek medical advice; double vision may occur, especially in paralytic squint. Squint in young children is an important condition, since the brain suppresses the image seen by the squinting eye; if correction of the squint is delayed the eye may become functionally blind (amblyopia). In such circumstances the child will never develop binocular vision.

Treatment of concomitant squint is by correcting any casual refractive error with glasses, patching the normal eye to force the use of squinting eye and reverse amblyopia, and, if necessary, correcting residual deviation by surgical adjustment of the eye muscle balance. Treatment must be started early and, in such cases, excellent results are usually obtained.

Stra*bis"mus (?), n. [NL., fr. Gr. , fr. to squint, fr. distorted, squinting.] Med.

An affection of one or both eyes, in which the optic axes can not be directed to the same object, -- a defect due either to undue contraction or to undue relaxation of one or more of the muscles which move the eyeball; squinting; cross-eye.


© Webster 1913.

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