Esophoria: How to Spot the Signs and Get the Right Treatment
Esophoria is an eye condition where one of the eyes turns inward, resulting in eye strain, headaches or even double vision.
More about Esophoria
Esophoria causes your eyes to work excessively hard, resulting in one eye turning inward towards your nose. It’s a type of strabismus (also known as crossed eye), which is a general term used to describe misaligned eyes.
Esophoria is different from its counterpart, exophoria, which describes the eyes turning outward. At Kelly Vision Center in Goodlettsville, we treat esophoria and other types of eye conditions.
Esophoria: What Is It and What Causes It?
Esophoria is a type of binocular vision disorder that impacts the alignment and coordination of both eyes. Mild cases of esophoria are common and don't usually cause any discomfort. But when the eyes deviate over 5 degrees, symptoms of esophoria may be present and make it difficult to complete tasks like writing, reading and driving.
The primary cause of esophoria is farsightedness, especially when one eye is more farsighted than the other. Esophoria can be caused by a variety of factors, but the most common cause is congenital, which means it can be present in an individual from the time they’re born.
Other factors that cause esophoria include injuries like car accidents or a concussion that weakens the eye muscles, eye disease, strokes, and neurological disease. Issues with accommodation (when the eyes struggle to focus on nearby objects, which causes excessive convergence), and convergence insufficiency (which occurs when the eyes struggle to coordinate) can also cause esophoria.
The signs of esophoria usually develop in early childhood, around age 2 or older, because the farsightedness impacts the nerves and muscles of the eye, and the visual cortex of the brain that controls eye movement.
Esophoria is often first noticed between the ages of 2-4, especially when the eyes are tired or due to an illness. Common symptoms of esophoria include:
- One eye turns inwards
- Double vision
- Eye strain
- Struggling with depth perception
- Finding tasks like writing and reading challenging
- Trouble concentrating
- Eye fatigue and tiredness
If you or your child are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to see your eye doctor.
How Is Esophoria Diagnosed?
The eye condition is diagnosed by an eye doctor during a comprehensive eye exam. They’ll assess whether farsightedness is present and to what degree, and examine the eyes for any misalignment and problems with muscle balance. During the eye exam, they’ll also check visual acuity, depth perception and the overall health of the eyes.
Which treatment your eye doctor recommends will depend on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. Some treatment options for esophoria include:
- Prescription glasses - To correct any farsightedness and ensure the eyes are more balanced. Depending on the extent, these may be used full-time or only when reading or during class time.
- Vision therapy - Involves a comprehensive program of eye exercises using vectograms and computer-based or VR games that are specially designed to improve eye muscle coordination and control.
- Prism glasses: These types of glasses are fitted with a special prism lens that is able to correct eye misalignment.
- Surgery: Depending on the severity, surgery may be recommended to correct the underlying cause of esophoria.
- Botox: Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections can weaken the muscle that causes the eye to be pulled inward.
- Patching: Wearing a patch on one eye for a certain period of time will be required if the eye doctor diagnoses a lazy eye. This improves alignment and strengthens the weaker eye.
Schedule an Eye Exam for Esophoria in Goodlettsville
Esophoria is a treatable eye condition. If you think you or a loved one has esophoria, set an appointment with Kelly Vision Center in Goodlettsville to receive a diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan.