Strabismus is a common visual problem among children, affecting up to 3% — that is, 1 out of 30-40 children — in the United States.
Strabismus, also known as an “eye turn” or “cross-eye”, is a condition characterized by the improper alignment of the eyes. One of the eyes may look straight ahead, while the other eye turns inward, outward, upward, or downward. The eye turn may be permanent, or may only occur occasionally. At times, the straight and misaligned eye may even alternate positions.
The eye turn is usually noticed in the first few years of the child’s life, but It can also occur later in life, particularly as a result of a traumatic brain injury or a neurological incident.
The misalignment of the eyes in a strabismic patient means that the eyes may be unable to work together to provide the brain with accurate binocular visual information. This can result in blurry vision or double vision, overlapping images, and difficulty with depth perception.
A functional eye exam at will detect whether your child is suffering from strabismus.
What are the Signs of Strabismus?
Parents or teachers often cannot detect an eye turn in the child, as it is rarely perceptible to the naked eye. Children can also struggle to identify the signs of strabismus, particularly if they are young. The best way to diagnose this condition is to undergo a functional vision exam as soon as you suspect a vision problem in your child.
A child with strabismus may show any of the following:
- Reversing letters (b, d, p and q and the numbers 2, 5, 6 and 9)
- Nausea and dizziness (vertigo)
- Eyes that don’t simultaneously look in the same direction
- One or both eyes crossing or turning inward
- One or both eyes turning outward
- Eyes that don’t move in tandem
- Squinting or closing one eye
- Tilting or turning the head to look at an object
- Bumping into objects, difficulty picking up small items, or any other issues with depth perception
The Treatment Process for Strabismus
Prior to starting any type of treatment, the optometrist will provide you or your child with a comprehensive eye exam. This involves an in-depth examination of the vision, visual skills and general eye health.
We will inquire into the family’s medical history, medications, or any other relevant information. These questions are important as they can affect a patient’s visual skills and development.
Following the comprehensive eye exam, the eye doctor will determine the right course of action.