What Causes Misaligned Eyes in Children?

Eye misalignment, also known as strabismus, is a condition where the eyes are not properly aligned and do not work together as a team. When the eyes are misaligned, they send different images to the brain, causing confusion and double vision. To avoid this, the brain may eventually ignore the input from one eye, a condition known as amblyopia or "lazy eye." By understanding the causes, recognizing the signs and symptoms, and seeking timely treatment, you can help your child maintain healthy eyesight and avoid potential complications.


Common Causes of Eye Misalignment in Children


Eye misalignment in children can stem from various underlying causes, including:

  • Refractive Errors: Conditions like nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), or astigmatism can cause the eyes to work harder to focus, leading to misalignment.

  • Muscle Imbalance: The muscles that control eye movement may be underdeveloped, weak, or uncoordinated, resulting in one eye deviating from the other.

  • Neurological Disorders: Certain neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, or brain tumors, can affect the control and coordination of eye movements.

  • Injury or Trauma: Head injuries, eye injuries, or trauma during birth can damage the muscles or nerves responsible for eye alignment.

  • Premature Birth: Babies born prematurely are at a higher risk of developing eye misalignment due to underdeveloped eye muscles or neurological issues.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms

Early detection and treatment of eye misalignment in children are crucial to prevent potential vision problems and ensure proper visual development. Here are some common signs and symptoms to watch out for:

  • Crossed or Wandering Eye: One of the most obvious signs of eye misalignment is when one eye appears to be turned inward, outward, upward, or downward compared to the other eye.

  • Squinting or Head Tilting: Your child may squint or tilt their head to try to compensate for the misalignment and achieve better focus.

  • Poor Depth Perception: Children with eye misalignment may have difficulty judging distances, catching balls, or navigating stairs or curbs.

  • Double Vision (Diplopia): In some cases, your child may report seeing double or overlapping images, especially when focusing on distant objects.

  • Eye Strain or Fatigue: Constant effort to focus and align the eyes can lead to eye strain, headaches, or fatigue after prolonged visual activities.

  • Sensitivity to Light: Some children with eye misalignment may experience discomfort or sensitivity to bright lights.


Treatment Options for Eye Misalignment in Children

The treatment approach for eye misalignment in children will depend on the underlying cause, severity, and age of the child. Some common treatment options include:

  • Glasses or Contact Lenses: If refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism are contributing to the misalignment, corrective lenses may be prescribed to help align the eyes and improve focus.

  • Eye Patching or Atropine Drops: For cases of amblyopia (lazy eye), patching or using atropine drops in the stronger eye can help strengthen the weaker eye and improve visual acuity.

  • Prism Lenses: Special prism lenses can be incorporated into glasses to help realign the images seen by each eye, reducing double vision and improving visual coordination.


It's important to follow the treatment plan recommended by your optometrist and attend all follow-up appointments to monitor your child's progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment approach.


Navigating Strabismus with the Help of Optic Gallery

Eye misalignment is a relatively common condition in children that can have significant impacts on their vision, learning, and overall development if left untreated. With the right treatment approach, many children with eye misalignment can achieve improved visual function and avoid long-term vision problems.

If you suspect that your child may have eye misalignment or any other vision-related issues, schedule an appointment with our experienced optometrists at Optic Gallery. Early detection and treatment are crucial for ensuring your child's optimal visual development and overall well-being.