Strabismus is a common eye problem among children. Strabismus needs to be caught and treated early before it causes complications, such as amblyopia (lazy eye) or other permanent vision problems.
What is strabismus and its causes:
Strabismus, also called squint or crossed eyes, is a visual condition in which the eyes do not align properly and point in different directions. One of them may look straight ahead, while the other one turns upward, downward, inward or outward.
Normally, the extraocular muscles, which include six muscles attached to the eyes and control the eye’s movement, work together to help both eyes move coordination with each other. Strabismus occurs when the eye muscles do not work in coordination to control eye movement, making the eyes to become misaligned and unable to look at the same direction at the same time.
Strabismus is likely to run in families, or some people are born with it. Strabismus can occur when the eyes have refractive errors, such as hypermetropia (farsightedness), myopia (shortsightedness), or astigmatism. It can also be the result of an illness or injury affecting the muscles and nerves. Most cases of strabismus are not the result of muscle problems but are due to some disorder in the brain, which is the control system.
How could parents know if their kids have strabismus?
The sign of a squint is quite obvious – both eyes are misaligned and look in different directions at the same time. Infants might have cross-eyed especially when they are tired, but it doesn’t mean that they have strabismus. But if the child’s eyes become misaligned all the time after 4 months of age, parents should take the child to the doctor to check out. If the baby turns his or her head when looking at an object, or closing one eye especially when seeing bright sunlight, this can be a sign strabismus. An older child might also complain about double or blurred vision, tired eyes.
Strabismus needs to be treated promptly. The younger the child is, the more effective the treatment can be.
- Glasses is a common and easy treatment that can be used to correct mild strabismus.
- If the child has amblyopia, a temporary eye patch will be worn over the stronger eye if your child can make the weak eye stronger and help align the eyes.
- Other treatments may include medicines and specific eye exercises. Surgery is only recommended if other treatments are not
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: July 14, 2017 | Last Modified: July 14, 2017
What is a squint? What is strabismus? http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/220429.php. Accessed March 5, 2016
Strabismus - Topic Overview. http://www.webmd.com/children/tc/strabismus-topic-overview#1. Accessed March 5, 2016