The conjunctiva links the eyeball to the eye socket. The external muscles of the eye are found behind the conjunctiva.
The extraocular muscles of the eye (external to the eyeball) control the positioning of the eyes. They coordinate of the eye movement between the eyes providing coordinated sight in all directions.
Strabismus (crossed eyes) is caused by a lack of muscle coordination between the eyes, causing the eyes to point in different directions. The eyes are unable to focus simultaneously on a single point. Strabismus may result from problems with the extraocular muscles (the six muscle pairs that move the eyes), problems with neurological control of the extra-ocular muscles, neurotoxins, blindness, mechanical problems in the eye, or mechanical obstruction to vision in one eye during early life. In adults, strabismus may be a symptom of various brain disorders or systemic diseases. Surgery may be recommended when strabismus does not respond to medical or optical treatment.
A small incision is made on each side of the eyeball in the tissue between the eye and eyelid (conjunctiva).
One or more of the muscles of the eye are strengthened or weakened to allow proper position and movement of the eyeball.
Usual activities and exercise can usually be resumed shortly after surgery.
Reviewed By: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.