Question: Can strabismus develop later in life?
Answer: Strabismus can develop later in life, and the symptoms are different from symptoms that present from strabismus that occurs in childhood. A child's developing brain reacts to an eye misalignment very differently than an eye misalignment in an adult. A child's brain will learn to ignore the second image that comes from an eye misalignment. This second image is commonly known as double vision.
In an adult who may develop strabismus, double vision can be a very distressing symptom. The eye misalignment in adults with an acquired strabismus can result from something as serious as a stroke-like condition that can weaken one of the muscles because of a problem with blood supplied to one of the cranial nerves that supplies the various eye muscles. Immediate attention by an adult's primary care doctor with the appropriate referral to an eye M.D. is very important and can have implications for the overall health of the adult.