published on: 25th august, 2021

The condition strabismus occurs when the eyes do not point in the same direction. The eyes may turn:

  • inward (called esotropia or "cross-eyed")
  • outward (exotropia)
  • up , too high (hypertropia)
  • down , too low (hypotropia)

When the eyes do not line up, the straighter eye takes precedence. Because the eye and its connection to the brain are functioning normally, the vision strength (acuity) of this eye remains normal. However, the misaligned or weaker eye does not focus properly, and its connection to the brain does not form properly.

How Do Kids Get It?

Strabismus can be present at birth or develop through childhood. It's usually caused by a disorder with the muscles that move the eyes, and it can be passed down via generations.

The majority of children with strabismus are identified between the ages of one and four. After the age of six, a kid may acquire strabismus. If this occurs, the youngster should consult a doctor right away to rule out any other conditions.

How to know your child has strabismus?

The majority of children with strabismus do not have any eye problems or detect any alterations in their vision. A family member, teacher, or health care provider is usually the one who observes the eyes aren't straight.

Some children may experience double vision (seeing two objects when only one is visible) or difficulty seeing things in general. These issues can also have an impact on reading abilities and classroom learning. Younger children who aren't yet talking may squint a lot and turn or tilt their heads to see better.

How Is Strabismus Diagnosed?

During the first few months of life, it's typical for a newborn's eyes to wander or cross. The eyes normally straighten out by the time a newborn is 4 to 6 months old. If one or both eyes wander in, out, up, or down on a regular basis, it's most likely due to strabismus.

How Is Strabismus Treated?

The sooner strabismus is diagnosed and treated, the better. This is due to the fact that by the age of 8, critical connections between a child's eyes and brain have formed.

Strabismus can be treated in a variety of ways, including:

  • eyeglasses
  • eye patching
  • eye drops
  • eye muscle surgery

Wearing eyeglasses can sometimes be enough to straighten out the eyes. If not, a youngster may be given an eye patch to wear for a few hours each day over the straight eye. This patch forces the weaker eye to perform the "seeing" function. The muscles and vision in the weaker eye improve over time.

It can be difficult to convince an infant or toddler to wear an eye patch. However, most children grow accustomed to the patch. Wearing it becomes second nature to them, just like getting dressed in the morning.

However, some children refuse to wear an eye patch. Eye drops (also known as atropine drops) may be used instead. The atropine drops temporarily blur vision in that eye, similar to how eye patching restricts vision in the straight eye. This forces the weaker eye to work harder, strengthening the eye muscles and eyesight.

Eye muscle surgery may be required if eyeglasses, eye patching, and/or atropine drops fail to correct a child's strabismus. The muscles that cause the eye to wander are loosening or tightening during surgery. The majority of children are able to return home the same day as their procedure.

Note: * The information on this website is not meant to be used to diagnose health conditions or to replace legitimate medical advice.

All treatments mentioned are available for patients at Burjeel Hospital. Abu Dhabi at the concerned department

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