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Crossed-Eyes in Children

Strabismus in Children

Strabismus is an eye alignment condition in which the eyes do not point in the same direction, leading to crossed-eyes or other irregular appearances.  Like lazy eye, crossed eyes are a fairly common childhood condition.  Chances for recovery are greatly increased when strabismus is detected and treated earlier in life. 

Six muscles control eye movement, and strabismus occurs when those muscles are out of sync in one or both of the eyes.  Children who develop strabismus learn to ignore the image that is produced by the misaligned eye, which impairs depth perception. 

Treating Kids with Strabismus

In about half of strabismus cases, the misaligned eye starts to decrease in power, leading to amblyopia, or lazy eye.  In those cases, treatment becomes the same as for lazy eye: a combination of glasses and patching will force the underperforming eye to work extra hard, strengthening it to the vision level of the regularly performing eye. 

In other cases, in which both eyes perform at the same level but are misaligned and send different pictures to the brain, a combined treatment approach is often recommended.  Corrective lenses may be sufficient, but typically a combination of patching, blurring through the use of eye drops or a blurred glasses lens, and prism lenses which redirect how light enters the eye and can train the misaligned eye to turn in the correct direction.  Eye exercises or vision therapy can also help correct strabismus.

Strabismus Surgery

In extreme cases, the best recourse can be surgery on the eye muscles.  Children recover from this surgery very rapidly, in less than one week.  Vision therapy and glasses might still be necessary after strabismus surgery.  In surgery, the eye muscles are detached and strengthened, weakened or repositioned to correct the misalignment. 

Look Straight, Look Great!

As with all eye movement issues, early treatment is the best answer.  If you believe your child may be suffering from crossed-eyes, contact us today.

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