What is Exotropia?

Exotropia is a type of strabismus (eye misalignment) in which one or both of the eyes turn outward. Exotropia may be constant or be present intermittently.

What are the Different Types of Exotropia?

Exotropia can be present at birth (congenital) or acquired. The acquired types of exotropia include intermittent exotropia, sensory exotropia, and consecutive exotropia (exotropia that occurs after surgery to treat crossed eyes).

What is Intermittent Exotropia?

Intermittent exotropia is characterized by times when one eye drifts outward and other times where the eyes appear straight. Intermittent exotropia may occur rarely and therefore may not result in any vision loss or loss of binocularity. However, in some children it may become more frequent or constant which can lead to vision impairment. Intermittent exotropias that become more constant may require surgical treatment.

What is Sensory Exotropia?

Sensory exotropia is an outward deviation of an eye with poor vision.  Any cause of poor vision (cataract, extensive trauma, corneal scarring, retinal disease, etc.) can cause this type of exotropia. Treatment addressing the etiology of poor vision can be considered, in addition to eye muscle surgery, to improve the alignment of patients with sensory exotropia.

When is Surgery for Exotropia Indicated?

Surgery for exotropia is generally indicated when the exotropia becomes more frequent; when the patient is experiencing significant symptoms such as eyestrain, double vision, or squinting; or when there are signs that the patient is losing binocularity.  If the exotropia can be controlled well with glasses, then surgery may not be indicated.

Source: American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus