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Chesapeake Pediatric Eye Doctor – Children with Strabismus

Chesapeake Pediatric Eye Doctor – Children with Strabismus


Chesapeake Pediatric Eye Doctor – Children with Strabismus

By: Dr. Amber Teten, Chesapeake Pediatric Eye Doctor

As a pediatric eye doctor, Dr. Teten has often encountered patients with strabismus. This condition affects the alignment of the eyes. Strabismus, also known as crossed eyes, can develop in children and adults, resulting in a range of symptoms, including double vision, headaches, and difficulty with depth perception. In some cases, untreated strabismus can lead to permanent vision loss in one eye. Fortunately, there are effective treatments available for this condition. Dr. Teten, a pediatric eye doctor, will explore the causes and types of strabismus and the available treatment options to help those living with strabismus achieve their best possible vision.

What is Strabismus?

Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not align properly. In a healthy eye, the muscles that control eye movement work together to keep the eyes focused on the same object. However, in a person with strabismus, one eye may turn inward, outward, upward, or downward, causing the eyes to appear crossed or misaligned.

There are two main types of strabismus: esotropia and exotropia. Esotropia is a type of strabismus in which one or both eyes turn inward toward the nose. It is a common condition among children and can develop at any age, although it often appears in early childhood. When one eye turns inward, the brain may begin to ignore the input from that eye to avoid confusion and double vision. Over time, this can lead to amblyopia, or lazy eye, which can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated. 

Exotropia is a type of strabismus in which one or both eyes turn outward, away from the nose. This condition is also known as wall-eyed or divergent strabismus. Exotropia can occur in children of any age, but it is most common in toddlers and young children. Other less common types of strabismus, such as hypertropia and hypotropia, involve upward or downward eye movements.

For more information about amblyopia and how it can affect your child, check out Dr. Teten’s blog

What Causes Strabismus?

Strabismus can be caused by various factors, including genetics, trauma, or problems with the muscles or nerves that control eye movement. In some cases, strabismus may also result from other vision problems, such as farsightedness, that cause the eyes to work harder to focus. Specifically, esotropia in children can be caused by various factors, including a family history of the condition, problems with the muscles that control eye movement, or issues with the nerves that connect the eyes and brain. Some children may develop esotropia due to farsightedness, which can cause the eyes to strain to focus on objects. Other potential causes of esotropia include head injuries, brain tumors, and certain neurological conditions.

The exact cause of exotropia is unknown, but it is believed to be related to genetic and environmental factors. Children with a family history of exotropia or other eye conditions may be more likely to develop the condition. Other potential causes of exotropia include problems with the muscles that control eye movement, abnormalities in the nerves that connect the eyes and brain, or underlying medical conditions such as cerebral palsy or Down syndrome.

Strabismus can occur at any age but is most common in infants and young children. Sometimes, strabismus may resolve independently as a child grows and develops. However, treatment may be necessary to correct the condition and prevent vision problems.

How is Strabismus Diagnosed?

Strabismus is typically diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. Dr. Teten can perform a series of tests to evaluate your eyes’ alignment and determine the type and severity of your strabismus. These tests may include the following:

A cover test involves covering one eye at a time while looking at a target. By observing how the eyes move when one eye is covered, Dr. Teten can determine if you have strabismus and what type it is.

Visual acuity test measures how well you can see at different distances. People with strabismus may have difficulty seeing objects in both eyes simultaneously, leading to double vision or other visual problems.

Eye movement tests evaluate how well your eyes can move and track objects. People with strabismus may have difficulty moving their eyes in specific directions, leading to problems with depth perception and other visual tasks.

How is Strabismus Treated?

The treatment options for strabismus in children depend on the type and severity of the condition. The goal of treatment is to improve eye alignment, restore binocular vision, and prevent or correct amblyopia or lazy eye. Treatment options may include eyeglasses, eye patches, eye drops, vision therapy, and surgery.

Eyeglasses: In some cases, children with strabismus may need corrective lenses to help improve eye alignment and visual acuity. Eyeglasses can also help to correct refractive errors, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, which may contribute to the development or worsening of strabismus.

Vision Therapy: In some cases, children with strabismus may benefit from vision therapy, a type of therapy that involves exercises and activities designed to improve eye alignment, binocular vision, and visual processing. At Navigation Eye Care, vision therapy is conducted at the office. Patients are then sent home with exercises to complete before their next therapy session. 

It is important to note that the treatment of strabismus in children is a collaborative effort between parents, the child, and their pediatric eye doctor. Parents should work closely with their child’s pediatric eye doctor to develop a treatment plan tailored to their child’s unique needs and goals and monitor their progress over time. With early detection and appropriate treatment, most children with strabismus can achieve improved eye alignment, visual acuity, and quality of life.

For further information on the benefits of vision therapy, check out our vision therapy page

So, if you suspect that your child has the eye condition strabismus, be sure to get their eyes checked out by Dr. Teten, a pediatric eye doctor. Please call the Navigation Eye Care team at 757-529-6889 or schedule an appointment online. We are equipped and prepared to care for you and your whole family. If you are looking for excellent service in a friendly manner, check us out. We highly recommend that you choose Navigation Eye Care when looking for a top pediatric eye doctor in the Chesapeake area. We will serve in Chesapeake for many years and can’t wait to see you and your family.


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