Strabismus or Crossed Eyes
A crossed eye, which can turn in or out, is a muscle condition in which a child’s eyes are not properly aligned with each other. Coordination of a child’s eyes, and their ability to work together, starts to develop in infancy. Failure of the eye muscles to work together properly can lead to strabismus, which generally appears between the ages of birth and 21 months. A child will not outgrow strabismus without treatment; in fact, the condition may become worse.
Children with strabismus may initially experience double vision because both eyes are not focusing on the same object. In an attempt to avoid double vision, the brain eventually disregards the image from one eye. In time, the ignored eye will become unable to function normally and will become largely unused, which could result in the development of amblyopia (lazy eye).
Treatment for strabismus can include eyeglasses, prisms, vision therapy, and in some cases, surgery. Strabismus can be corrected with excellent results if detected and treated early.
Amblyopia or Lazy Eye
Amblyopia is weak vision or low vision in one eye as a result of an uncorrected prescription during the early years of development, or due to strabismus. Amblyopia is largely symptom free to a young child. It is the leading cause of preventable vision loss.
If detected and treated early, before the age of six, it will often resolve completely. It is vital to treat amblyopia early with vision therapy, eyeglasses, contact lenses and/or patching, as treatment becomes very difficult later on. If left untreated, amblyopia may lead to a permanent decrease of vision in the affected eye.
Eye coordination is the ability of both eyes to work together as a team. Each eye sees an ever-so-slightly different image, but the brain blends these two images into a single three-dimensional picture. Good eye coordination keeps the eyes in proper alignment, but a minor misalignment of your child’s eyes can cause symptoms like double vision, fatigue and headaches.
Eye coordination skills are developed during early childhood. Some signs and symptoms that may indicate poor eye coordination in children are covering one eye, tilting their head, skipping lines or losing their place while reading, performing poorly in sports, avoiding tasks that require close work and tiring easily.
Poor eye coordination can be treated through vision therapy, eyeglasses and/or other optical aids. If detected early enough, the success rate for achieving proper eye coordination is high.