What Is Exotropia?

Eye-turns can occur at any stage of life and can go in different directions. Regardless of the deviation type it is important to have an assessment with a residency trained eye-care provider to determine the type and cause of eye-turn.
Some eye-turns can be associated with neurological conditions that can be life threatening, while others just need an appropriate pair of glasses.
Exotropia is a form of strabismus where the eyes are deviated outward.
An exotropia is an outward eye turn that can have a large variety of presentations. It can be intermittent, constant, unilateral, alternating and vary in magnitude. An exotropia has a variety of causes, some of which can be life threatening. If an eye-turn is suspected or there is a family history of an eye-turn a comprehensive eye-examination is indicated.


1. Decreased vision. 
2. Decreased depth perception. 
3. Outward deviation of the eyes, often intermittently at first.
4. Sensitivity (closing one eye) in bright light.
Exotropia is a form of ocular misalignment where the visual axes diverge inappropriately.
The earliest sign of exotropia is usually a noticeable outward deviation of the eye. Generally, exotropia progresses in frequency and duration. As the disorder progresses, the eyes start to turn out when looking at close objects as well as those in the distance. If left untreated, the eye may turn out continually, causing a loss of binocular vision.
The eye movement is controlled by six muscles, four that move the eye up and down and two that move it left and right. All these muscles must be coordinated and working properly for the brain to see a single image. When one or more of these muscles does not work properly, some form of strabismus may occur.



Exotropia is common and treatable, especially when diagnosed and corrected at a young age. When eye misalignment occurs early in life and the drifting is infrequent, your doctor may recommend to just watch and wait. Treatment may be advised if the drifting starts to worsen or doesn’t improve, especially in a young child whose vision and eye muscles are still developing.
The goal of treatment is to get the eyes to align as much as possible and improve vision. Treatments include: glasses, patching, exercises.In some cases, surgery is recommend to readjust eye muscles.
Patients are suggested to consult a doctor for medical advice. If you or any one in your family are having Exotropia symptoms, you should see your eye doctor.