Young Children and Crossed Eyes

When your child has a lazy eye

My daughter is 22 months old. Two weeks ago, I started noticing that her eyes become out of alignment several times during the day. Is this sign of what is called ” Lazy Eyes”, and is it hard to correct?

It is not uncommon to notice intermittent crossing of the eyes in a newborn baby. By the time a baby is 2-3 months old, however, the eyes should be aligned (straight). Malalignment of the eyes (crossed eyes) is called strabismus. Strabismus can run in families. Some babies have a relatively broad bridge of the nose and epicanthal folds (small folds in the corner of the eye) that can create the impression that the eyes are crossed when in fact they are not.

Any child whose eyes are crossing after the age of 2-3 months (and even before that age if the eye seems stuck in one position) should be evaluated promptly by an ophthalmologist. Permanent loss of vision (amblyopia) or loss of binocular vision (using both eyes together, which allows one to see depth) can occur in children with an untreated lazy eye. Treatment may involve eyeglasses, eye drops, patching, or surgery.

Pediatricians take families’ concerns about their children’s eyes very seriously because family members are by far the best observers!

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