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General Practice 2023

Child strabismus: symptoms, causes and treatment

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Child strabismus: symptoms, causes and treatment
Child strabismus: symptoms, causes and treatment

Child strabismus is the deviation of the eyes, in which the eyes point to different sides, which is usually related to the child's developing ocular musculature, so that the eyes do not move in sync, focusing on different objects at the same time.

The diagnosis of childhood strabismus is made through ophthalmological examinations, which help to identify the type and degree of deviation, which is important for carrying out the treatment. See more about strabismus types.

Treatment for childhood strabismus should be recommended by an ophthalmologist, depending on the degree of strabismus, and may involve placing a patch in one eye and/or performing eye exercises, for example.


Symptoms of childhood strabismus

Strabismus in babies is a very common problem up to 6 months of age, especially in premature babies, as the eye muscles are still developing, so movement can happen in a disorderly way. The main signs and symptoms indicative of childhood strabismus are:

  • Eyes that do not move in sync, seeming to be switched;
  • Difficulty grabbing a nearby object;
  • Can't see a nearby object;
  • Close your eyes more to see better;
  • Pain behind the eyes, in some cases.

In addition to these symptoms, the baby may also constantly tilt their head to the side, especially when they need to focus on a nearby object.

In the presence of signs and symptoms indicative of strabismus, it is recommended that the child be taken to the ophthalmologist for an evaluation and identification of the degree and type of deviation, and then the most appropriate treatment is initiated.

Main causes

Child squint occurs mainly due to weakness of the eye muscles, which are still developing. However, it can also happen due to the alteration in the nerves that are related to eye movement. It is important that the ophthalmologist be consulted in order to identify the cause of the strabismus.

Treatment for strabismus in children

Treatment for strabismus in babies should be started soon after the diagnosis of the problem, and an eye patch is usually placed on the he althy eye, in order to force the brain to use only the eye that is misaligned to develop the muscles on that side.

The eye patch should be kept on during the day and can only be removed at night for the baby to sleep more comfortably. If the eye patch is not always used during the day, the baby's brain can compensate for the visual change, ignoring the image transmitted by the cross-eyed eye and causing amblyopia, which is the loss of vision in one of the eyes due to lack of use.

It is usually possible to cure strabismus with the use of a patch up to 6 months of age, however, when the problem persists after that age, the doctor may recommend having surgery to correct the strength of the muscles eyes, making them move in sync and correcting the problem.

When strabismus is noticed later in the child, treatment with eye patches and glasses may be necessary, as vision may already be reduced.

In adulthood, the ophthalmologist can make routine consultations to assess the degree of strabismus to start treatment with eye exercises, if necessary. However, as with the baby, surgery can also be an alternative when the problem does not improve.

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