Childhood Strabismus: Early Symptoms and Treatment

Strabismus occurs when the ocular axes are not aligned with the object on which gaze fixation is attempted. It can occur in both children and adults. Thus, when a child presents a deviation of the gaze in relation to its ocular axis, i.e. develops infantile strabismus, a complete ophthalmologic evaluation should be performed.

4 main causes of infantile strabismus

  1. An inadequate functioning of the extraocular muscles.
  2. The existence of a refractive defect, mainly hyperopia.
  3. The existence of a brain problem that must be studied and treated.
  4. A low vision of the eye, probably affected by pathologies such as congenital cataracts, retinal diseases, etc.

Strabismus symptoms in children

Keep in mind that in the first few days it is normal for a newborn’s eyes to wander or cross occasionally. But when the baby reaches three months of life if the eyes continue to deviate, the baby should undergo a review by Ophthalmology professionals.

If one eye or both eyes continue to deviate inward, outward, up or down the axis and do so constantly or intermittently, it is a symptom of strabismus and requires an ophthalmologic study.

It should be noted that most children with strabismus do not complain of eye problems. Usually, it is a family member or at school who notices the eye deviation. It is possible that some children may complain of double vision or have trouble seeing clearly. Younger children who have not yet learned to express their vision problems may squint or turn or tilt their heads to see more clearly.

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Treatment of infantile strabismus

To treat these children, optical correction of the refractive defects by means of glasses and occlusions or patching is sufficient for some strabismus. The patches are placed to prevent amblyopia, known as “lazy eye”.

In more severe cases it will be necessary to intervene surgically, operating the oculomotor muscles, responsible for moving the eyeball and maintaining parallelism. The intervention consists of strengthening or weakening the muscles that produce the deviation of the eyeball.

In other more exceptional cases, a combination of different treatments will be necessary, as well as in very specific cases, it can be treated with botulinum toxin.