Strabismus is the medical term for a crossing or misalignment of the eyes. It is a disorder involving the muscles surrounding each eye, causing the two eyes to not line up in the same direction. The condition commonly is known as "crossed eyes," although only one eye is misaligned in most cases. Strabismus can lead to a vision problem called amblyopia, or "lazy eye."
One of our sources on the Pryor story, a former agent with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, said he was convinced the young man in the gay porn photos was the current federal judge because "Bill Pryor is hard to fake a photo of."
That probably was a reference to the fact that Judge Bill Pryor, the former attorney general of Alabama, has strabismus. The young man who appeared in the photos at badpuppy.com--reportedly taken when Pryor was a student at Northeast Louisiana University (now University of Louisiana Monroe) from 1980 to 1984--clearly has strabismus. (See a large version of the photo, with the genital area blacked out, at the bottom of this post.)
A number of surveys show that strabismus occurs in 3 to 4 percent of the U.S. Caucasian population, including infants. The incidence in the adult population is lower than that.
In most official photographs of recent vintage, Pryor tends to be posed toward his right, and his right eye appears to be misaligned. The young man in the gay porn photo is posed toward his left, and his left eye clearly is off center.
How could this be? There are several possible explanations. Some cases of strabismus are constant (at least one eye is always crossed), and some are intermittent (the eyes look normal at times). Many cases involve "alternating strabismus," where the misaligned eye can change from one to the other. The Web site allaboutvision.com has one of the most clear and succinct descriptions of the condition I've seen:
Strabismus is a failure of the two eyes to maintain proper alignment and work together as a team.
If you have strabismus, one eye looks directly at the object you are viewing, while the other eye is misaligned inward (esotropia, "crossed eyes" or "cross-eyed"), outward (exotropia or "wall-eyed"), upward (hypertropia) or downward (hypotropia).
Strabismus can be constant or intermittent. The misalignment also might always affect the same eye (unilateral strabismus), or the two eyes may take turns being misaligned (alternating strabismus).
Can the severity of strabismus lessen over time? Yes, and vision therapy can help in some cases. Surgery, however, is the primary treatment for the condition:
In most cases, the only effective treatment for a constant eye turn is strabismus surgery. If your general eye doctor finds that your child has strabismus, he or she can refer you to an ophthalmologist who specializes in strabismus surgery.
The success of strabismus surgery depends on many factors, including the direction and magnitude of the eye turn. In some cases, more than one surgery may be required. The strabismus surgeon can give you more information about this during a pre-surgical consultation.
Strabismus surgery also can effectively align the eyes of adults with long-standing strabismus. In many cases of adult strabismus, however, a significant degree of amblyopia may remain even after the affected eye is properly aligned. This is why early treatment of strabismus is so important.
The earlier strabismus is treated surgically, the more likely it is that the affected eye will develop normal visual acuity and the two eyes will function together properly as a team.
Did Bill Pryor have surgery between his college years and now to reduce the severity of strabismus? Sources who have seen Pryor a number of times in person say the eye misalignment now is noticeable, but it appears to have improved considerably from his younger days.
The only way to know for sure about possible treatment is to ask Bill Pryor himself. We did that recently, and we soon will let you know how that went.
(To be continued)