How to tell if your child has strabismus
The best indication of strabismus is visually. If your child is staring at you and their eyes don’t seem equally aligned, they may have strabismus. You may think they have a lazy eye, appear cross eyed or they appear to be squinting. Having regular eye tests is a great way for an optometrist to pick up on strabismus. The earlier this is picked up the better the outcome can be for children.
Newborns will often show some intermittent cross eye or lazy eye but grow out of it rather quickly. Regular health checks can determine whether it is just a newborn thing or a more serious vision problem that needs correcting.
Letting strabismus go untreated can lead to other issues, such as amblyopia, and make future treatment less effective. Amblyopia is vision loss, or double vision, due to an eye not working properly. This lazy eye is getting less information from the brain, which means it works less, which can in turn cause the brain to rely on it even less. When one eye is off track, the brain prefers to focus on the good eye, and therefore sends and receives less information from the “lazy eye”. Normally an ophthalmologist will try to correct the amblyopia first before correcting the strabismus. This can be done with vision therapy, glasses, drops and other treatments including patching.