The medical term for crossed eyes, or cross-eyes, is Strabismus. This condition occurs when the eyes misalign when trying to focus on a single object. The result is that they look in different places, independently.

This is caused when the function of the eye muscles is impaired for some reason, preventing proper alignment of the eyes to focus properly on one point. The condition can affect one or both of the eyes, or alternate between them.

Crossed eyes may be caused due to problems with those eye muscles, the signals from the brain that control them, or the nerves that carry the signals. The condition can also be the result of eye injury, illness or general health issues. It becomes more evident when the eyes are tired or strained.

There are two types of strabismus:

  1. Intermittent extropia – inability to co-ordinate both eyes
  2. Accommodative estropia – due to uncorrected hyperopia

The appearance of crossed eyes in babies is common, often called ‘false strabismus’, and the child will grow out of it by the time they are a toddler.

Treatment for crossed eyes in adults begins with a thorough eye examination and check of overall eye health. There are several courses of action, dependent upon the severity, including glasses or contact lenses, an eye patch, vision therapy in the form of crossed eye exercises. In extreme cases, ophthalmologic surgery on the eye muscles can be performed to correct the alignment of the eyes.

If you are concerned about crossed eyes, don’t hesitate to call Insight Optometrists today for assistance.


  1. American Optometric Association, MedlinePlus, American Association for Pediatric Opthalmology & Strabismus