Aims: To determine the influence of strabismus on the ability to find a partner.
Methods: We interviewed Swiss dating agents retrieved from two Swiss online telephone directories using a validated questionnaire to determine whether strabismus has any impact on the ability to find a partner. During the interviews, subjects with internet access could view downloadable, digitally altered photographs of a strabismic man and women, as well as images of other computer-generated facial anomalies.
Results: Of the 40 dating agents, 92.5% judged that strabismic subjects have more difficulty finding a partner (p<0.001). Such difficulty was not associated with either gender or age but was perceived as being greater in exotropic than in esotropic persons (p<0.001). Among the seven facial disfigurements, strabismus was believed to have the third largest negative impact on finding a partner, after strong acne and a visible missing tooth. Dating agents also believed that potential partners perceive persons with strabismus as significantly less attractive (p<0.001), erotic (p<0.001), likeable (p<0.001), interesting (p<0.001), successful (p<0.001), intelligent (p = 0.001) and sporty (p = 0.01).
Conclusions: Visible strabismus negatively influences the ability to find a partner. Because strabismus surgery in adults restores a normal functioning condition and reduces not only physical but also psychosocial difficulties, it cannot be considered a cosmetic procedure.
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