Possible Causes of a Sudden Eye Turn

Posted on Aug 1, 2023

Eye turns, also known as strabismus, are often associated with childhood and can be due to problems with eye muscle alignment. However, it is possible for adults to develop an eye turn suddenly, indicating an active underlying cause. When this occurs, prompt evaluation and treatment are essential. While there can be various reasons for a sudden eye turn in adults, the most common cause is a stroke affecting the nerve responsible for eye muscle movement. Other potential causes include thyroid problems or the presence of a tumor or mass in the eye socket. Understanding the causes behind a sudden eye turn is crucial for timely and appropriate eye care.


Stroke and Cerebrovascular Accidents

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, leading to damage in the affected area. If a stroke affects the nerve that controls the movement of one of the eye muscles, it can result in a sudden eye turn. This type of eye turn is often associated with double vision, as the affected eye is unable to coordinate with the healthy eye. Seeking immediate medical attention is crucial in such cases, as stroke-related eye turns may be accompanied by other neurological symptoms.


Thyroid Eye Disease

Changes in thyroid hormone levels can also contribute to the development of a sudden eye turn in adults. Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder affecting the thyroid gland, is commonly associated with eye problems, including strabismus. This condition can cause inflammation and swelling of the eye muscles, leading to misalignment and an eye turn. Managing the underlying thyroid condition is essential for addressing the eye turn and minimizing any associated symptoms.


Tumor or Mass in the Eye Socket

Another potential cause of a sudden eye turn in adults is the presence of a tumor or mass in the eye socket. This can create pressure or affect the surrounding structures, including the eye muscles, leading to an abnormal eye turn. Tumors or masses can be benign or malignant, and further evaluation by an eye care professional is necessary to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial in managing any underlying growth and addressing the resulting eye turn.


When to See a Doctor for a Sudden Eye Turn

It is important to note that a sudden eye turn can be a concerning symptom and should not be ignored. Seeking immediate eye care is necessary to identify the underlying cause and prevent potential complications. An eye care professional will conduct a comprehensive examination, which may include an assessment of eye muscle function, a neurological evaluation, and imaging tests if needed.

Treatment for a sudden eye turn will depend on the specific cause. In cases of stroke, addressing the underlying vascular condition and potentially undergoing rehabilitation therapy may be necessary. For thyroid-related eye problems, management of thyroid hormone levels and specialized eye care interventions may be recommended. If a tumor or mass is found in the eye socket, treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, or other appropriate measures based on the individual case.


Our eye doctors at Eye Theory in Houston, TX excel in the prescription of contact lenses, glasses and various eye diseases.  Call our optometrist at 832.831.7386 or schedule an appointment online if you would like to learn more about the importance of a sudden eye turn. Our eye doctor, Dr. Jonathan Tsao, provides the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in the Midtown, Downtown, Museum District, Montrose, East Downtown, and Southside Commons (Southside Place) vicinities of Houston, Texas as well as our newest location in the Stone Oaks neighborhood of San Antonio, Texas.

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