Strabismus describes the misalignment of the eyes where they appear to turn out, turn in, or one eye may look higher than the other. Strabismus is a fairly common condition and affects 4% of children. The exact cause of strabismus is not fully understood, but heredity may play a role.
It is important to understand that children do not outgrow strabismus and it is never too early to have a child’s eyes examined. If you even suspect that a child’s eye is misaligned, an exam by an eye doctor is indicated to determine the cause and to begin treatment. All children should be screened for strabismus by the family doctor, pediatrician or eye doctor during infancy, particularly when there is a family history of strabismus. We also believe all children should be examined by an optometrist or ophthalmologist during preschool. If the exam is delayed until the child starts elementary school, it may be too late to fully correct the strabismus or amblyopia.
Treatment of strabismus is important to prevent reduced vision (amblyopia) and to promote binocular vision, which helps eyes to work together and transmit one clear image to the brain. Treatment may include glasses, patching and/or surgery. As a rule, the earlier amblyopia and strabismus are treated, the better the visual result.