What is Exophoria?

Published on
November 22, 2022

Exophoria occurs when one or both eyes drift outward when looking at an object. You will find it difficult to focus both of your eyes on an object. It occurs due to poor eye coordination.

What causes symptoms of exophoria?

Our eyes naturally rest in a particular position and when we close our eyes at night, they return to this natural position. For many of us, it's straight. When we wake up in the morning, our eyes are naturally oriented more outward. Because our eyes have to move back to see things straight and to make sure everything is single, this strains our visual system over time, making it more difficult to maintain that posture because our brain and our eyes are always working together to keep our eyes straight. This can happen over the course of a day or when studying or reading for a long time and can create symptoms in the system. The following are really common symptoms of an exophoria:

  • Tired eyes
  • Eye strain
  • Headache
  • Not being able to pay attention
  • Double vision

How can exophoria be treated?

‌It is possible to reverse exophoria with consistent treatment. A few common treatment methods include:

  • Vision therapy: In the majority of cases where exophoria is causing discomfort or difficulties with vision the best treatment option is personalized vision therapy. Our eye doctor may recommend vision therapy for exophoria to improve focus and eye movements and reduce eye fatigue and eye strain.
  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses: You may be able to treat exophoria with eyeglasses or contact lenses, and you might find your symptoms improve with lenses that correct for myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness).
  • Prisms: Certain cases may require treatment through prisms built into eyeglass lenses. For more severe cases of exophoria, prisms can help align the image perceived by the eyes. You can find out if you need prism correction from our eye doctor.

How can you test for exophoria at home?

If you want to determine whether you have exophoria at home, you can close one eye and look at a distant target. You'll be looking at something on your wall, maybe a picture or something else from about 10 feet away. 

Initially you will look at that picture with your right eye covered and then you will cover your other eye. Now if that target moves as you switch from one eye to the other eye, that indicates phoria. A few small movements are normal, but if the thing you're looking at looks like it's jumping from left to right as you cover one eye and then another, then you have larger phoria, meaning your eyes have to work harder to create single vision. This is something to keep in mind.

Schedule an eye exam at Amplify EyeCare Manhattan

A wide range of visual dysfunctions can be diagnosed and treated at Amplify EyeCare Manhattan by our eye doctors and vision care team.

You can schedule a functional visual evaluation if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with exophoria or suffers from any of its symptoms.  Patients with exophoria visit our clinic from all over New York, and we are proud to be a leading provider of functional vision services for patients from New York, Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island. We will evaluate your visual problem and discuss the most appropriate treatment options for lasting results. Call Amplify EyeCare Manhattan at (212) 752-6930 to schedule an appointment today.

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At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.


Cynthia Norton

Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.


Steve Fay

Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.


Mary K.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


Peter G.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


Kinkie F.

I have always found Dr Kavner's work, expertise and wisdom of the highest caliber. As one of the fathers of OT, occupational othomology, his depth and breadth of knowledge about the eyes' health and wellbeing of the patient is exemplary. Cannot say enough good things about him.


Allen B.
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