Strabismus in Children: Crossed Eyes and Vision Development

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This blog on Strabismus in Children has been contributed Dr. Ayesha Khan, Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist.

Strabismus, commonly called ‘crossed eyes,’ impacts approximately 2% – 4% of children worldwide. This condition results in the misalignment of the eyes, causing them to point in different directions and disrupting binocular vision.

Strabismus is primarily seen in infants and young children and is not just a cosmetic concern. It can significantly impact vision development and depth perception, essential for numerous activities, from catching a ball to crossing a street. When the eyes do not align properly, the brain may start to ignore the image from the eye that is not aligned to prevent seeing double, causing ‘amblyopia,’ also known as a lazy eye.

Emphasising early detection is crucial with strabismus, as the initial years of a child’s life are vital for visual development. Any signs of the condition, such as squinting, tilting the head while looking at objects, or noticeable misalignment of the eyes, should prompt an immediate medical consultation.

The treatment journey for a child with strabismus often involves a team of specialists. An optometrist performs regular eye exams and prescribes glasses if necessary. An orthoptist specialising in strabismus and amblyopia devises personalised eye exercises to improve eye coordination. Lastly, a paediatric eye consultant oversees the child’s treatment, deciding when surgical intervention is necessary and ensuring the various treatments align to maximise visual development and overall quality of life.

In essence, strabismus affects not only the physical appearance but also the functional vision of a child. Therefore, recognising and addressing strabismus in its early stages is crucial for optimal eye health and developmental growth.

If you notice any of the signs or symptoms of Strabismus, please seek care from a specialised ophthalmologist to help your child’s vision develop correctly.

At Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, our dedicated paediatric department is staffed with expert ophthalmologists, optometrists, and orthoptists, all passionately dedicated to the eye care needs of children.