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Eye Alignment

Specialists at Northwest Eye can Correct Eye Alignment Problems for Patients of all Ages.

Eye alignment problems affect not only the ability to see clearly but appearance and self-esteem as well. Our expert ophthalmologists at Northwest Eye are well known in the Midwest for their skills in treating eye alignment disorders in both children and adults.

Child With Strabismus

What is Strabismus?

Strabismus is a medical term for misalignment of the eyes. It is a common condition among children and affects about 4% of the U.S. population. However, many people don’t realize that strabismus can develop in adulthood as well.

Strabismus usually involves problems with the muscle control of the eye. One eye appears straight, while the other is turning inward, outward, upward, or downward.

There are four common types:

  • Esotropia – an inward turning of the eyes
  • Exotropia – an outward turning of the eyes
  • Hypertropia – the abnormal eye is higher than the average eye
  • Hypotropia – the abnormal eye is lower than the normal eye

In addition to the eyes not looking in the same direction, some other symptoms that may indicate strabismus include:

  • Eyes that don’t move together
  • Light sensitivity that involves squinting or closing one eye in bright light
  • Tilting or turning the head to look at an object
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Bumping into things

The actual cause of childhood strabismus is not known. Sometimes it can develop when the eyes compensate for other vision problems, such as farsightedness. Other risk factors include:

  • Pediatric cataracts
  • Illness that affects muscles or nerves
  • Prematurity
  • Down syndrome
  • Head injury

Some adults have strabismus that was never treated during childhood. In adulthood, strabismus can develop due to:

  • Loss of vision
  • Eye or blood vessel damage
  • Tumor in the eye or brain
  • Grave’s disease
  • Stroke

Abnormal alignment may cause amblyopia or poor vision development. The brain will usually adapt by only using the straight eye and “ignoring” signals from the misaligned eye.

Loss of binocular vision, which can distort distance depth perception, may occur. Early diagnosis and treatment of strabismus are essential and can directly affect the patient’s long-term visual outcome.

Yes. Different types of strabismus require specific treatments and depend on the patient’s age and the extent of the vision problems. Your Northwest Eye ophthalmologist will probably suggest one or more non-invasive treatments before recommending eye muscle surgery.

  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses may correct the problem in some patients.
  • Prism lenses are special lenses that are thicker on one side than the other. The prisms alter the light entering the eye and reduce how much the eye needs to turn to view objects. Sometimes the prisms can eliminate the eye turning altogether.
  • Vision therapy is a program of eye exercises that trains the eyes and brain to work together more effectively. These visual exercises help to improve eye coordination and eye focusing.
  • Eye muscle surgery can change the muscles’ length or position around the eyes, so they are aligned correctly. Sometimes, people who have eye muscle surgery will also need vision therapy to improve eye coordination and keep the eyes from becoming misaligned.

Child With Amblyopia

What is Amblyopia?

Amblyopia (also known as lazy eye) is the loss or lack of clear vision development in one or both eyes. It’s used when vision in one of the eyes is reduced. The brain and the eye don’t function properly together.

The eye may look normal, but it is not functioning correctly. For the best results, treat amblyopia in children as soon as a diagnosis occurs. It can be challenging to treat if the vision does not develop on time in the affected eye.

Any disorder that prevents a clear image in the eye is a potential cause of amblyopia. The most common causes are:

  • Strabismus
  • Refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism)
  • Obstruction of vision by cataracts, ptosis, or other eye diseases

Using an eye patch on the stronger eye can be a very effective method of treating amblyopia. Treatment can also include a combination of corrective prescription lenses, prisms, and vision therapy.

Pseudostrabismus is a condition that makes it appear as though the eyes are misaligned when, they are fine. It’s caused by a wide, flat nose and a fold of skin at the inner eyelid that can make eyes appear crossed.

Only a trained eye doctor can distinguish the difference between strabismus and pseudostrabismus by doing a complete eye exam.

No matter your age or the severity of your condition, your eyes can benefit from alignment surgery if you have strabismus. Correcting strabismus involves adjusting one or more of the six muscles that control eye alignment.

Patients are entirely sedated for the procedure, which takes about an hour to complete. Many adults are motivated to have strabismus surgery for cosmetic reasons.

Most patients experience improved vision, less eyestrain, and less eye muscle fatigue after strabismus surgery. For this reason, insurance will usually cover the surgery.

The eye alignment surgeons at Northwest Eye, Dr. Freeman and Dr. Decanini, are some of the few doctors in the Midwest skilled at performing strabismus surgery for both adults and children.

Be Eye Wise and schedule a consultation appointment with Drs. Freeman, Engel, or Decanini from our Northwest Eye team for all strabismus and amblyopia issues.


Serving Our Community

With six locations throughout the Twin Cities metro area, Northwest Eye is among the largest eye care providers in the Midwest. Be Eye Wise and schedule a general eye exam or a specific service consultation today. We have optical  at the following offices:  Golden Valley, Minnetonka, Maple Grove, St. Anthony, and Wayzata, MN.

8501 Golden Valley Rd.,
Suite 100 & 200
Golden Valley, MN 55427
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12501 Whitewater Drive, Suite 110
Minnetonka, MN 55343
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12000 Elm Creek Blvd N., Suite 100
Maple Grove, MN 55369
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6060 Clearwater Dr., Suite 150
Minnetonka, MN 55343

Please note:
***This office will be moving to our new Crosstown location on January 1.**
New Location:
12501 Whitewater Drive, Suite 110
Minnetonka, MN 55343
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2601 39th Ave NE., Suite 1
St. Anthony, MN 55421
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250 Central Ave N., Suites 105 & 107, Optical Suite 106
Wayzata, MN 55391
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7125 Tamarack Rd, Suite 150,
Woodbury, MN 55125
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11091 Ulysses St NE., Suite 400
Blaine, MN 55434
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9801 Dupont Ave S., Suite 100
Bloomington, MN 55431
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10709 Wayzata Blvd., Suites 100 & 120
Minnetonka, MN 55305
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