Strabismus - What Should Parents Know?

Strabismus - What Should Parents Know?

It is absolutely normal for the eyes of a newborn to cross or wander occasionally. This will happen in the first few months of life. However, once the baby reaches 4-6 months, the eyes will generally straighten on their own. But, if one or both the eyes continue to wander in, down, out or up, even occasionally, it might be due to a condition called as strabismus. The good news to parents is that when this condition is detected early, it can be cured through a number of effective and safe treatment options available. However, it is important that early treatment should be obtained and it is important for parents to remember that waiting for two long or overlooking the treatment, can lead to total vision loss.

What is it?

It is the misalignment or wandering of one or both eyes either outward, down, upward or inward and these are medically termed as exotropia, hypotropia, hypertropia and esotropia respectively. This condition can either be constant or it might be noticed by parents occasionally. They can notice the same when the child is tired or when he/she is looking at something very close. This condition can develop in childhood or it can also be present at birth as well.

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However, once the baby reaches 4-6 months, the eyes will generally straighten on their own. But, if one or both the eyes continue to wander in, down, out or up, even occasionally, it might be due to a condition called as strabismus. The good news to parents is that when this condition is detected early, it can be cured through a number of effective and safe treatment options available. However, it is important that early treatment should be obtained and it is important for parents to remember that waiting for two long or overlooking the treatment, can lead to total vision loss.

What is it?

It is the misalignment or wandering of one or both eyes either outward, down, upward or inward and these are medically termed as exotropia, hypotropia, hypertropia and esotropia respectively. This condition can either be constant or it might be noticed by parents occasionally. They can notice the same when the child is tired or when he/she is looking at something very close. This condition can develop in childhood or it can also be present at birth as well. Even though, the actual cause of this condition is not known, it is generally found that children with family history of this condition are at increased risk of getting this eye health issue.

Normally, kids with this problem are diagnosed between one and four years. Even, there are chances that some kids might get this condition for the first time after 6 years of age. When this is noticed, it is important to take the child to the doctor immediately, who might refer the child to a pediatric ophthalmologist and a neurologist examination can be suggested for ruling out any underlying problem behind the issue.

How is vision affected?

When eyes are misaligned, the straight or straighter eyes will show case predominantly. When compared to the other eye, the vision strength or the straight eye will be normal. The reason is that the eye and its associated with the brain are functioning normally. On the other hand, the weaker or misaligned eye does not focus properly and its association with the brain is also affected. When this condition is not treated, the brain will begin to ignore or suppress the image of the weaker eye, thereby resulting in amblyopia or lazy eye. This condition when not treated can also impair the development of the depth perception or the ability to see 3D images.

Signs and symptoms:

Many kids with this condition do not complain about any eye problems and it is generally the parent or teacher, who will identify the misalignment. Some kids might complain themselves about double vision, which means that they will see two images instead of one image for the products in front of them. Younger kids, who cannot express their vision problems, will generally tilt their head to see more clearly.

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