What is strabismus and how do I know if my baby has it?
Strabismus (say: "stra-biz-muss") is a disorder in which the eyes do not line up properly. Instead, the eyes appear to cross, or one eye may wander to the side.
Why is strabismus a problem?
For normal vision, both eyes need to look in the same direction at the same time. When a child has a crossed or wandering eye, he or she gets a different picture from each eye. The child's brain naturally tries to fix this problem by blocking out the picture from the weaker eye. If strabismus is not fixed when a child is young, the child's brain will always ignore the pictures from the weak eye. This kind of vision loss is called amblyopia (say: "am-blee-o-pee-ah"). It is the most serious problem caused by crossed or wandering eyes.
Pediatric Vision Screening for the Family Physician by P Broderick (American Family Physician September 01, 1998, http://www.aafp.org/afp/980901ap/broderic.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff