Premature Babies and Eye Problems
Strabismus in Babies continued...
Children with any of these conditions should be examined by a pediatric ophthalmologist. Also contact the doctor if you notice that your child's eyes are crossing.
Complications of Strabismus
Because the eyes focus in two different areas, the brain receives two different images. To compensate, the baby's brain ignores the image from the crossed eye and perceives the image from the straighter eye. This can affect depth perception.
Strabismus can also lead to amblyopia, or lazy eye. This occurs when the crossed eye doesn't develop good vision and may even lose vision. About one-third of children with strabismus develop amblyopia.
If the child has developed amblyopia, this will need to be treated first. The stronger eye will be covered with a patch or drops can be used so that the brain only sees images from the weaker eye. This strengthens the crossed eye and improves vision. Children may not like wearing an eye patch, but it is important to follow through on treatment. Amblyopia can become permanent if treatment is delayed.
Once vision has stabilized, surgery repairs the muscles around the eye. You may hesitate to put your child through surgery at a young age. However, treating strabismus before age 2 has been shown to have better long-term results than waiting until a child is older.
Even after surgery a child may still need glasses. Because the strabismus can return, be sure your child has eye exams as recommended by a pediatric ophthalmologist.