Exotropia is one of the most common types of childhood strabismus, where one or both eyes are turned outwards, with a prevalence of 1% in the United States. We will discuss exotropia, its symptoms and different treatment options for the condition in this blog.

What is exotropia?

Exotropia is an eye condition in which one of your eyes points out. When someone has an eye that drifts out, or might be permanently out, and does not seem to be looking at you with one eye, then they may have exotropia.

What are the common symptoms of exotropia?

The signs and symptoms of exotropia include:

  • Outward eye turn
  • Blurred vision
  • Diplopia (double vision)
  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Avoidance or inability to focus while reading
  • Motion sickness
  • Decreased depth perception

If you experience any of these symptoms and suspect that you have exotropia, visit your optometrist immediately.

How does exotropia affect vision?

Basically, exotropia occurs when something goes wrong with our eyes' teaming system.  Essentially, it's the inability to point both eyes at the same spot at once. You can either be born with it or develop it later in life.

The downside of exotropia other than the cosmetics is that you don't have a good depth perception information given to your eyes. Our brain relies on our eyes to coordinate to the same place to give us two different angles of looking at something and then using those two different angles, it creates a depth for us to interact with.

If you hold a pen in front of your eyes and have good depth perception, you will always be able to touch the tip. However, someone with exotropia will not be able to touch the pen's tip. In this situation, it will appear as if they are trying to touch the pen with one eye closed. And with one closed, they will not have good depth perception.

Get the best treatment for exotropia

Many people with exotropia are able to benefit from vision therapy. Surgery should only be considered as a last resort for large angle intermittent exotropia. With surgery, patients with a significant large angle eye turn can appear more confident in social situations since the eye appears aligned.  Visual function is usually not improved by surgery, so vision therapy is usually combined with it. Moreover, some people have good control over moving their eyes in and out and may not require any treatment.

Visit a Vision Therapy optometrist at an Amplify EyeCare practice near you:


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