Exotropia is a type of deviation or strabismus, a condition that can be constant and occur at any time in life.
There are two types of exotropia: congenital (present at birth) or acquired (which includes intermittent exotropia, sensory exotropia, and consecutive exotropia). The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about this condition:
- Exotropia, which is a strabismus or misalignment of the eyes, can be hereditary. This is why it is important for children to be taken to be tested by an ophthalmologist if there is a family history of this condition.
- Exotropia may first occur spontaneously; over time it may become more frequent.
- Congenital or infantile exotropia occurs at birth or at a very young age. Esotropia (crossed eyes) is more common in newborns.
- Some people’s eyes tend to turn outwards when they are relaxed or looking far away. This deviation, called intermediate exotropia, is managed naturally by refocusing the vision.
- Sensory exotropia occurs when one eye has poor vision. In this case, it is difficult for the eye with lower vision to work in conjunction with the other, so the eye’s natural tendency is for it to deviate.
- Consecutive exotropia happens after a strabismus surgery. It occurs immediately or develops years later.
Once the eyes become more misaligned than straight, surgery on the muscles that control them is recommended in order to realign them. Your ophthalmologist will recommend the treatment depending on your situation.
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