Eye Exotropia: Unraveling The Mystery of Drifting Eyes

Eye Exotropia Unraveling The Mystery of Drifting Eyes

Eye exotropia, also known as drifting eyes or outward deviation of the eyes, is a condition that affects the alignment of the eyes. It occurs when one or both eyes turn outward instead of focusing on the same point. In this article, we will explore eye exotropia, its causes, symptoms, and available treatment options to shed light on this mysterious condition.


Understanding The Case

Eye exotropia is a type of strabismus, a condition characterized by misaligned eyes. While one eye looks straight ahead, the other eye drifts outward, resulting in double vision or a loss of depth perception.

This misalignment can be constant or intermittent, occurring in one or both eyes. It typically develops during childhood, but it can also manifest in adults due to various factors.

Causes of Drifting Eyes

The exact causes of eye exotropia are not fully understood. However, several factors may contribute to the development of this condition, including:

  1. Muscle Imbalance: Eye exotropia can occur when there is an imbalance in the muscles responsible for controlling eye movement. Weakness or tightness in these muscles can lead to the outward drifting of the eyes.
  2. Nerve Disorders: Certain neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy or stroke, can disrupt the proper functioning of the nerves that control movement, resulting in drifting eyes.
  3. Genetics: Eye misalignment may have a genetic component, as it can run in families. If a parent or close relative has eye exotropia or another type of strabismus, the risk of developing the condition increases.

Symptoms and Effects

The primary symptom is the noticeable outward turning of one or both eyes. This misalignment may worsen when the person is tired or focusing on distant objects. Other symptoms may include eye strain, headaches, and difficulties with depth perception.

In children, untreated eye exotropia can lead to amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, where the brain suppresses the image from the misaligned eyes, causing reduced vision in that eye.


Treatment Options

  1. Vision Correction: Eyeglasses or contact lenses may be prescribed to correct refractive errors, which can help alleviate eye strain and improve eye alignment.
  2. Vision Therapy: This non-surgical treatment involves exercises and activities that aim to improve eye coordination and strengthen the eye muscles. Vision therapy is often recommended for children.
  3. Surgical Intervention: In cases of severe or persistent eye exotropia, surgery may be recommended. The procedure involves adjusting the position or tension of the eye muscles to realign the eyes. Surgery can help improve eye alignment and restore binocular vision.


Eye exotropia is a condition characterized by the outward deviation of one or both eyes. While the exact causes are not fully understood, factors such as muscle imbalance, nerve disorders, and genetics may contribute to its development. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are crucial in managing eye exotropia and preventing complications such as amblyopia.