Understanding Strabismus: Does Your Child Have It?

It can be alarming to look at your child and see their eyes going in different directions. But, most of the time, it’s due to a relatively common condition called strabismus. Strabismus can happen sometimes or consistently. One eye may appear to look forward while the other turns inward, outward, up, or down. The same eye may look forward or the eyes might alternate. 

The providers at Cooper Eye Care are experienced in treating strabismus, along with other aspects of pediatric eye care, and can provide you with the information you need in order to better understand the condition. 

Risk of strabismus

About 4% of children in the United States develop strabismus. Some are born with it, and some develop it later, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. In some cases, there’s a genetic component — strabismus may run in families — but sometimes a child can develop the condition when no one else in their family has it. 

Types of strabismus

The common names for strabismus that you may have heard are “cross-eyed” or “wall-eyed,” and the fact there are two different common names is a good clue that there are different types of strabismus. 

Infantile esotropia is most common in infants. In babies with infantile esotropia, one eye turns inward, and children who have it can’t use their eyes together. 

Accommodative esotropia generally affects children over the age of two years. When a child with this kind of strabismus focuses on something, their eyes turn inward. 

Exotropia is when an eye turns outward. It happens most often when the child is focusing on an object far away. It can also happen when your child is tired or sick. 

Treatment

When our providers treat children with strabismus, the goal is to restore clear vision in both eyes. Treatment depends on the type of strabismus, your child’s age, and other factors. Our providers work to make sure that the treatment plan they suggest for your child is the most appropriate and most likely to achieve the desired results. 

In some cases, prescription glasses can correct the problem. In others, your child may need to wear a patch or do regular eye exercises. Sometimes surgery is necessary to correct unbalanced eye muscles. It may be necessary for your child to undergo more than one surgery. 

There’s no way for our doctors to know which treatment is going to work best for your child without performing a thorough examination. If you’d like to learn more about strabismus and what kinds of treatments are available, book an appointment at Cooper Eye Care today. 

You can easily schedule online at either of our locations. Or, if you prefer, you can call and schedule your appointment. The number at our Manhattan facility is 212-461-4133, and our Brooklyn facility can be reached at 718-489-4206. 

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