Strabismus is a misalignment of the eyes. The eyes (one or both) may turn inward, outward, up, or down. This condition is also called wandering eye or crossed eyes.
This is one of the most common eye problems in children.
Experts aren’t sure what causes this issue. It may happen when the eye muscles don’t work together.
The brain controls the eye muscles. Children with brain conditions are more likely to have strabismus. These conditions can include cerebral palsy or hydrocephalus.
This condition seems to run in families. Siblings and children of a person with strabismus may be more likely to develop the condition.
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. Strabismus often starts in children younger than 6 years of age.
It’s normal for a newborn's eyes to move independently. Sometimes they may even cross. By 3 to 4 months of age, your baby’s eyes should be straight, with no turning. Your child should also be able to focus on objects.
Call your child’s healthcare provider if your child's eyes move inward or outward or look crossed. You should also call your child’s healthcare provider if your child cannot focus his or her eyes. Children with strabismus may also develop secondary vision loss (amblyopia). This is also called a lazy eye.
The symptoms of this condition may look like symptoms of other health problems. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your child’s healthcare provider will diagnose it during an eye exam. All children should have an eye exam by 3 years of age. But if your child has signs of strabismus or other eye issues, he or she may need an eye exam earlier.
Getting this condition diagnosed and treated early can help prevent vision problems.
Your child may need to see an eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist) for treatment. Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. Your child’s treatment may include:
Your child will not outgrow this condition. But early treatment can prevent other eye issues. These include vision problems, such as lazy eye, and even blindness.
Strabismus is a misalignment of the eyes. The eyes (one or both) may turn inward, outward, up, or down.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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