Exotropia is a form of squint in which an eye looks outwards. This may be persistent or intermittent. Intermittent exotropia can arise only when an individual looks at objects that are close by or far away.

This condition usually develops in early childhood. The type of treatment depends on the type of exotropia and other findings.

This article provides a detailed overview of exotropia. After defining exotropia, it details its symptoms, causes, and risk factors.

The article then describes how doctors diagnose and treat this condition.

A person with extropia who has one eye deviating away from the nose -1.Share on Pinterest

According to a 2023 review, exotropia is a form of strabismus. The term “strabismus” is what doctors and scientists call a squint, a condition in which the eyes point in different directions.

Around the world, exotropia is the most common form of strabismus.

Researchers define exotropia as when one eye or both turn outwards, away from the nose.

This may be constant or intermittent. In intermittent exotropia, the eye faces outwards only some of the time. Exotropia may also affect different eyes at different times.

Furthermore, exotropia sometimes affects people only when they look at things that are either close by or far away. The former kind of exotropia is near intermittent exotropia. The latter is distance exotropia.

Exotropia can cause a variety of symptoms. These include:

In some cases, exotropia does not cause any symptoms.

There is no one common cause for all cases of exotropia.

According to the 2023 review, most cases of exotropia begin shortly after birth. Scientists are not entirely sure why this is so.

However, a wide range of factors may influence the development of exotropia. These include:

  • differences in the shape or direction of the orbits
  • certain distances between the pupils
  • poor vision in one eye

These are things that indicate an increased risk of developing this condition. Other exotropia risk factors include cerebral palsy and ocular albinism, a condition that causes reduced coloring in the eyes.

Research has also indicated that central nervous system problems are risk factors for exotropia.

As a 2023 paper explains, doctors can diagnose exotropia simply by looking at an individual’s eyes under different circumstances. For instance, doctors will want to determine whether vision across various distances can affect the exotropia.

However, in order to measure the extent of someone’s exotropia, doctors may rely on more sophisticated methods. Doctors may ask their patients to focus on specific kinds of objects, sometimes while covering one eye with a patch.

Treatment for exotropia may involve some combination of the following interventions:

  • watchful waiting to monitor how the strabismus develops
  • glasses, which help to control the squint
  • in people with poor vision in one eye, putting a patch over the better eye can help
  • using glasses with prisms in them to reduce double vision or improve 3D vision
  • surgery to correct the directions of the eyes
  • vision therapy, which includes a program consisting of visual activities to help improve eye coordination and focusing

It is unclear how effective these treatments can be.

According to a 2020 review of existing research, there is little compelling evidence for the efficacy of nonsurgical approaches. However, more studies are necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of these treatments.

Contrastingly, a 2019 review maintains that surgical treatments can have lasting positive effects. However, scientists have not yet found which surgical treatments are the most useful, and surgical management can have variable results.

Exotropia is the commonest form of strabismus, which is when the eyes point in different orientations. More specifically, exotropia is the outward turning of one or both eyes away from the nose.

This condition can be constant or intermittent, occurring only periodically. Additionally, exotropia may impact alternating eyes at different times. Intermittent exotropia can also arise only when viewing objects at varying distances.

Exotropia usually affects children. It can cause several symptoms. These include decreased 3D vision, reduced vision, or double vision. People with exotropia may experience headaches, want to rub their eyes, or become sensitive to bright lights.

Scientists are not sure about the exact causes of exotropia, although neurological conditions and abnormalities in the skull can be contributing factors.

Surgery can be an effective treatment, but it may depend on the type of exotropia. Other treatment options include prescription glasses with prism lenses, vision therapy, and applying eye patches.