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Strabismus (Crossed Eyes) – A Common Eye Disorder In Children

By Paul R. Mitchell, M.D. - Pediatric Ophthalmologist - Eye Center South

As a parent, you are the first to notice when something doesn’t seem right with your child.

Strabismus is a common condition in children in which the eyes do not properly align with each other. You may notice that your child’s eyes look in different directions at the same time. He/she may close one eye or tilt their head when looking at an object to bring objects into focus.

The condition may be constant or intermittent in nature. Causes of strabismus can include nerve injury or dysfunction of the muscles controlling the eye or sinus issues. It can affect boys and girls at an early age. If you notice your child’s eyes are moving inward or outward, or has difficulty focusing on objects, and/or the eyes seem to be crossed, seek a thorough examination from a Pediatric Ophthalmologist.

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Sometimes referred to as “crossed eyes,” strabismus can be corrected with early treatment, but it is important to catch it early. Several treatment options exist to align the eyes that our team at Eye Center South can perform. Those options include the use of eyeglasses or eye patching, eye exercises, eyedrops or surgery.  Surgery is performed in an outpatient surgery center, and most children resume their daily activity within 2-3 days.

It should be noted that strabismus is different from amblyopia (also known as lazy eye). Amblyopia can be caused by unequal refractive errors, crossed eyes, misaligned eyes and more. The most common technique for lazy eye is patching, where a patch is placed over the good eye to encourage the development of better vision in the eye that is experiencing difficulties.

Like strabismus, amblyopia can affect children at a relatively young age. Patching should begin as early as possible and can be effective for children at almost any age. If the child is old enough to understand, we suggest parents explain to him or her the reason the patch is being used. It may be helpful to demonstrate the patching on a doll or a Teddy bear.

The good news about eye issues that are common in children is most are treatable when detected early. At Eye Center South, we have the experience and knowledge necessary to help diagnose and treat children with any eye challenge. Our physicians and staff are committed to providing the highest quality, compassionate care for you and your family. We specialize in surgery and diseases of the eye for all ages and work closely with your optometrist to provide the best vision outcomes. Learn more at www.eyecentersouth.net or call 800-467-1393.

Paul Mitchell
Author: Paul Mitchell

Dr. Paul Mitchell joined Eye Center South in July 2020. He has over 40 years of experience in the field of Pediatric Ophthalmology. He is an active member of numerous medical and ophthalmologic societies, including the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus and the International Strabismological Association.

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Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)

by Paul Mitchell time to read: 3 min