Strabismus, also known as walleye or crossed eyes, is a serious potential threat to your child's vision. This dangerous condition affects up to 5 percent of the children in the U.S. and can even lead to a significant loss of vision if left untreated. Fortunately, eye care professionals, such as optometrists, have the training to diagnose and treat the disease, so vision loss is a rare occurrence. This article looks at some of the key facts parents should know about this vision disorder.
The primary outward sign of strabismus is one eye or both eyes appearing to be out of alignment. The eyes may focus down or up, or to either side, or one eye may exhibit these characteristics, with the good eye focusing straight ahead. Another sign of the disease is double vision, where the child sees two images of a single object. Young children are not always able to easily communicate their double vision problems, so ask your child occasionally about their eyesight.
Doctors have identified two main types of strabismus. The first type is called intermittent and the second is known as constant. In intermittent, the eyes falls out of alignment only occasionally. For example, a child may have normal vision most of the time, but the eyes become misaligned during periods of stress. It's important to identify the type of strabismus your child suffers from, as this may have important implications for the most effective treatment regimen.
Optometrists and other eye care professionals use a variety of treatments to resolve the faulty vision that results from strabismus. One of the simplest treatments is having the child wear glasses. Because farsightedness and nearsightedness can cause strabismus in children, sometimes a pair of glasses solves the problem. Other common treatments include having the child wear an eye patch or take eye drops. In the most serious cases, surgery might be necessary.
The prognosis for children with strabismus is good as long as the disorder is treated in a timely manner. In some instances, a case of strabismus that appears to have been cured can return, so it's crucial to watch your child closely after treatment has concluded.
Although strabismus is a concern for parents of young children, medical intervention has several ways to prevent any long term vision loss. Contact an optometrist at a like Baldwin Optical & Hearing Aid Co. to make an appointment for your child and to learn more about this nettlesome condition.