Strabismus in Children: Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors

28 Jul

In strabismus, the eye muscles of your child don’t work together to control the eye movements. It makes both their eyes look in different directions. This may happen periodically or permanently. Strabismus in children is common. It is also known as squint, wall-eyed, or crossed-eyed babies in layman terms. It is an externally visible condition. Thus it becomes a reason for embarrassment for your kids when they grow up.

The good news is strabismus in babies and strabismus in children is treatable. On the other hand, there is no guarantee of successful treatment for older kids. Therefore it becomes crucial for you to be aware of the causes, risk factors, and symptoms of strabismus.

Strabismus in Children with Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

What Causes Strabismus?

The cause of the eye muscles not working together in some kids is still unknown. But experts agree on the following condition working as a catalyst for strabismus.
• Nerve damage
• Duane syndrome
• Damage or swollen retina in premature babies
• Moebius syndrome
• Weakness or paralysis in eye muscles
• Trauma from a head or eye injury
• Fracture of the orbital wall
• Pressure from tumors on muscles or nerves around the eyes
• Thyroid eye disease

What are the Risk Factors Associated With Strabismus?

The following factors increase the risk of strabismus in children:
• Neurological abnormalities
• Family history of strabismus
• Muscular abnormalities
• Prematurity or low birth weight
• Vision problems like severe ptosis, cataracts, and corneal scars
• Lazy eye syndrome or amblyopia
• Retinopathy at prematurity

Strabismus in Children with Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

What are the Strabismus Symptoms?

For the sake of the healthy vision of your kids, look out for the following signs and symptoms. These can be the signs of strabismus or any other vision problem.

• Squinting to See in Moderate Light

Squinting in intense sunlight is normal. But if kids are becoming sensitive to even a mild glare indoor, they are at risk of developing strabismus.

• Looking Sideways

Kids with issues in vision look sideways to focus on things. This is because only their one eye is dominant. They often need to move their head to see objects in different directions.

• Blurred Vision or Double Vision

Strabismus in children makes their vision blurred or double in the beginning. Don’t ignore if your child can’t see things clearly or if they complain of double vision.

• Misaligned Eyes

One of the most common but subtle strabismus symptoms is the misaligned eyes of the baby. Their eyes might become divergent and convergent when they try to see in different directions.

• Weak Hand-to-eye Coordination

Strabismus also leads to weak hand-to-eye coordination. Throw a ball towards your kids and check if their reflexes are strong or not.

• Tilting of the Head to Read or Watch Anything

When you ask a kid with strabismus to try to read or watch T.V., they need to tilt their head towards the object to focus.

• Not Able to Judge Distance

We all have a binocular vision to perceive distance. Lack of binocular vision makes it difficult for kids to judge distance. You can notice it while they play.

• Frequent Headaches

Strabismus in children causes their eyes to strain more to see things. This strain may result in frequent headaches.

• Closing the Lazy Eye

Look out if your kids are closing one eye to focus better. That one eye can be the lazy eye. Sometimes they will alternatively close their eyes to decide which eye provides them with a steady sight.


In Conclusion

Strabismus in children is common and treatable. But the success of strabismus treatment depends upon how early you start it. Therefore, don’t hesitate to approach a pediatric ophthalmologist if you notice any of the strabismus symptoms mentioned above. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center. With a knack for understanding medical procedures, and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogsAuthor Aaron Barriga to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK. Aaron loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels.

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