To review what is known about the normal maturation of stereoacuity, the stereoacuity deficits associated with infantile and accommodative esotropia, the rationale for making improved stereoacuity a goal of treatment, and strategies for improving stereoacuity outcomes.
Studies of stereoacuity maturation during normal development, studies of stereoacuity outcomes after treatment for infantile and accommodative esotropia, and studies of primate models of esotropia are reviewed.
Stereoacuity maturation normally proceeds rapidly during the first year of life. Infantile and accommodative esotropia are associated with profound and permanent disruption of stereopsis. Although rehabilitation of stereoacuity after treatment of esotropia remains a challenge, even the achievement of subnormal stereoacuity may have real benefits to the child.
Some abnormalities in stereoacuity may exist before the onset of esotropia, but others may result directly from abnormal binocular experience. Several strategies for improving stereoacuity outcomes in esotropia are currently under active investigation. Improved stereoacuity outcomes are associated with better long-term stability of alignment, reduced risk for and severity of amblyopia, improved achievement of sensorimotor developmental milestones, better reading ability, and improved long-term quality of life.