Strabismus: Treating Squinting in Children
Is your child squinting more often than usual? Are there times when your kid turns his or her head to focus better when talking to you? Squinting normally occurs in infants to 3-year-old children. Beyond this age, it becomes a serious concern that parents should immediately address.
Although the reason is unknown, strabismus in children can be treated. This condition also occurs in adults, but the causes are more easily identified. Related problems can be the result of an eye injury, a recent eye surgery or a refractive error.
Directions of Squint
Strabismus is a condition involving misaligned eyes. Also known as cross eyed or wall eyed, strabismus occurs when both eyes do not align simultaneously in the same direction. There are different terms for the way each eye turns including the following:
Esotropia: The eye turns inward.
Exotropia: The eye turns outward.
Hypertropia: The eye turns upward.
Hypotropia: The eye turns downward.
Before any treatment is administered, eye doctors consider many factors to zero in on the actual prognosis. One example is identifying whether your child’s squint comes and goes. This is known as intermittent strabismus. If it appears to be present all the time, the condition is termed “constant.” Doctors also need to know the severity of the condition and the angle of the squint.
Early detection and treatment of strabismus in children can help their development. To be on the safe side, parents should bring their children in for examination around 9 months of age. This guideline follows the recommendation of The American Optometric Association and American Ophthalmological Association. For more extreme cases, it is advised that children undergo an eye exam as soon as this problem is detected.
Strabismus in children does not simply go away unless this condition is treated. Patching is one treatment that calls for covering the unaffected eye and forcing the other one to develop eye muscles to help it focus. This is prescribed for children with strabismus and lazy eye.
Children may also be asked to wear eyeglasses, which are used to address optical differences rather than the turning of the eye. When these do not help, doctors may even go far as to suggest surgery to correct the problem.
To learn more about strabismus and its treatment, call the eye experts at Eastside Eye Associates/Tribeca Eye Physicians. Call 212-861-6200 or 212-693-7200 today.