Understanding the Different Types of Eye Turns

by Aug 15, 2023

An eye turn, also known as strabismus, is a condition where one eye is focused on a target directly, while the other eye deviates from its proper alignment. It can manifest in various forms, including inward, outward, downward, or upward turns. Additionally, the eye turn can either be constant or intermittent in nature. Identifying the specific type and frequency of an eye turn is crucial in determining the most appropriate treatment and managing the condition effectively. Seeking guidance from an eye doctor or ophthalmologist is essential to receive an accurate diagnosis and establish an appropriate treatment plan.


Inward Eye Turn (Esotropia)

An inward eye turn, also referred to as esotropia, occurs when one eye deviates inward, towards the nose. This condition can be constant or intermittent, where the eye turns in occasionally, especially when the individual is tired, stressed, or focusing on a nearby object. Esotropia is commonly seen in infants and young children but can affect individuals of all ages. Treatment for esotropia may include corrective lenses, eye exercises, patching the stronger eye, or in some cases, surgery to align the eyes.


Outward Eye Turns (Exotropia)

On the other hand, an outward eye turn, clinically known as exotropia, is characterized by one eye deviating outward, away from the nose. Exotropia can manifest as a constant or intermittent eye turn, visible at certain times or when the individual is looking far away or feeling fatigued. Exotropia is more commonly seen in children and can sometimes improve or resolve spontaneously with age. Treatment options may include vision therapy, corrective lenses, patching, or surgery, depending on the severity and individual circumstances.


Downward Eye Turn (Hypotropia) and Upward Eye Turn (Hypertropia)

A downward eye turn, known as hypotropia, is when one eye turns downward, causing misalignment. Similarly, an upward eye turn, or hypertropia, occurs when one eye is directed upward, disrupting proper alignment. These types of eye turns can be constant or intermittent, depending on the individual. Treatment options for hypotropia and hypertropia may include prismatic lenses, vision therapy, or, in some cases, referral to a specialist for surgery if other measures are ineffective.


Intermittent or Constant Eye Turns

An intermittent eye turn is an eye turn that is not always present, meaning there are times when the eyes align properly. A constant eye turn occurs when one of the eyes is always deviated – even if the eye that is turned switches between the eyes.


Consultation with an Eye Doctor

To identify the type and frequency of an eye turn accurately, it is imperative to consult with an eye doctor or ophthalmologist. They will perform a comprehensive evaluation, which may include an examination of eye movement, visual acuity, and binocular vision assessment. Additionally, the doctor may use specialized tests, such as the cover-uncover test or the alternate cover test, to further diagnose and understand the nature of the eye turn.

Based on the diagnosis, the eye doctor will develop an appropriate treatment plan tailored to the individual’s needs. Treatment options can include corrective lenses, vision therapy, eye exercises, patching, or in more severe cases, surgical intervention. Regular follow-up visits will help monitor progress and make adjustments as necessary.


Our eye doctors at EyeDocs Family Eye Care in Brookville, OH excel in the prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrists at 937-770-1265 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to learn more about the different types of eye turns. Our eye doctors, Dr. Kyle Maxam and Dr. Cara Wampler provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Brookville, Ohio.

Request Appointment

You can schedule your next appointment with us online!

Connect With Us

Let’s continue the conversation over on your social network of choice.