Exophoria occurs when one or both eyes drift outward when looking at an object. You will find it difficult to focus both of your eyes on an object. It occurs due to poor eye coordination.

What causes symptoms of exophoria?

Our eyes naturally rest in a particular position and when we close our eyes at night, they return to this natural position. For many of us, it's straight. When we wake up in the morning, our eyes are naturally oriented more outward. Because our eyes have to move back to see things straight and to make sure everything is single, this strains our visual system over time, making it more difficult to maintain that posture because our brain and our eyes are always working together to keep our eyes straight. This can happen over the course of a day or when studying or reading for a long time and can create symptoms in the system. The following are really common symptoms of an exophoria:

  • Tired eyes
  • Eye strain
  • Headache
  • Not being able to pay attention
  • Double vision

How can exophoria be treated?

‌It is possible to reverse exophoria with consistent treatment. A few common treatment methods include:

  • Vision therapy: In the majority of cases where exophoria is causing discomfort or difficulties with vision the best treatment option is personalized vision therapy. Our eye doctor may recommend vision therapy for exophoria to improve focus and eye movements and reduce eye fatigue and eye strain.
  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses: You may be able to treat exophoria with eyeglasses or contact lenses, and you might find your symptoms improve with lenses that correct for myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness).
  • Prisms: Certain cases may require treatment through prisms built into eyeglass lenses. For more severe cases of exophoria, prisms can help align the image perceived by the eyes. You can find out if you need prism correction from our eye doctor.

How can you test for exophoria at home?

If you want to determine whether you have exophoria at home, you can close one eye and look at a distant target. You'll be looking at something on your wall, maybe a picture or something else from about 10 feet away.

Initially you will look at that picture with your right eye covered and then you will cover your other eye. Now if that target moves as you switch from one eye to the other eye, that indicates phoria. A few small movements are normal, but if the thing you're looking at looks like it's jumping from left to right as you cover one eye and then another, then you have larger phoria, meaning your eyes have to work harder to create single vision. This is something to keep in mind.

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


Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare