Babies and children
Babies and children with strabismus should be checked right away to prevent amblyopia, which results in loss of vision and depth perception in the misaligned eye. Amblyopia can occur even if the eye is only slightly misaligned because a developing child's brain will stop communicating with that eye, shutting it off. This is why amblyopia is sometimes referred to as "lazy eye."
Unfortunately, it isn't always easy for parents to tell if a child's eyes are crossing, particularly in those children with a mild case of strabismus. If your child is showing any of the following signs and symptoms of strabismus, you should call today and schedule an appointment for an eye exam with one of our pediatric ophthalmologists.
- Crossing eyes in newborns. Many parents are told that in the first three months of life, it is not unusual for a baby's eyes to wander. This is partly true. It is not unusual for a baby's eyes to occasionally wander outward, but if one or both of a baby's eye turn inward during this time period, especially if the eye is constantly turning in, the baby should have an eye exam. If it wanders outward part of the time, its probably okay to wait, but if it is always turning outward and never straight then the baby should have an eye exam.
- Eyes crossing or turning out after 3 months of age. If you notice one or both of your baby's eyes wandering or crossing either in or out after 3 months of age, your baby should have an eye exam.
- Head tilting or squinting. If your child is routinely tilting his or her head in an unusual way to see something, that may indicate a vision problem. Children may do this to effectively line the eyes up in a certain way to get the best vision.
- Red eye reflection in one eye. An annoyance in family pictures, the "red eye" reflection can sometimes provide valuable information about vision. If "red eye" is showing in only one eye rather than both eyes, it may be a tip-off that your child is having a vision problem and should have an eye exam.
- When a sibling has strabismus. If a brother or sister has been diagnosed with strabismus, it is a good idea to have your baby or child examined, even if there are no obvious signs of the problem.
Other than obvious misalignment of the eyes, some of the signs and symptoms of strabismus in adulthood are different than those in children. For more information on strabismus in adulthood, see Adults with Strabismus, Q&A with Dr. Hunter.