Can crossed eyes or a wandering "lazy" eye be fixed?

In a word, yes!

People with strabismus -- the medical term for eye misalignment -- whether they have an eye that turns in (esotropia) or wanders out (exotropia), or an eye that goes up (hypertropia), don't have to just "live with it." In almost all cases, they can be treated successfully. The most common treatment options are glasses and eye muscle surgery.

This child has esotropia.

This child has esotropia.

Patients frequently come to see me for strabismus and report having been told by prior physicians, sometimes even eye doctors, that "nothing could be done." I often hear comments after corrective surgery like, "If I had known this could have been fixed, I wouldn't have lived with it all these years!"

Strabismus often causes double vision, especially in adults, and people who haven't lived with double vision rarely grasp how unpleasant, frustrating, and debilitating this condition can be. Even when eye misalignment doesn't cause double vision, in our society, there is an unfortunate but real stigma associated with strabismus, and patients often suffer socially. Children and adults with strabismus are often, incorrectly and unfairly, perceived as less intelligent. Fortunately, as mentioned above, this doesn't need to be the case.

There is no "age limit" to strabismus surgery. This procedure is relatively quick, typically lasting about 40 minutes, and is performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis, with patients going home the same day.

Because eye misalignment is often associated with poor vision in childhood, and rarely with an underlying medical problem, if your child's eyes aren't straight, be sure to schedule a visit to see an eye doctor.

To learn more about health insurance coverage for eye muscle surgery, read this.

If you would like to learn about what you might expect in the recovery period after strabismus surgery, click here.

Finally, here is some additional information about reasons why you might consider having strabismus surgery.