Pediatricians help correct a lot of birth defects in children. One defect is strabismus. It is a disorder in which the eyes don’t look in exactly the same direction at the same time.  A common disorder in children, strabismus can lead, if not taken care of, to total or partial loss of the ability to see in one eye. If taken care of early, however, it could be corrected very well.

What are the risks?

It is not uncommon for parents of infants to detect a slight squint when their child is enjoying exploring the world around him. Alternately affecting both eyes intermittently, it is characterized by one eye that deviates inward or, more often, outward.

In children under 2 months of age, strabismus is perfectly common: still immature, the eyes of infants may have difficulty fixing and moving in harmony. This problem usually resolves on its own before a child is 6 months old, when his vision finally matures.

A common but not trivial disorder

However, it may happen that the child continues to “squint” after the first 2 months of life. This is not uncommon. Indeed, strabismus is a common disorder that affects up to 5% of children. Its frequency should not, however, dissuade parents from consulting the pediatrician, who can detect possible early congenital strabismus, linked to a definitive absence of binocular vision, which provides peripheral and 3-dimensional perception.

It may also happen that accommodative strabismus (that is, related to the functioning of the eye) appears later. Again, upon detection or in case of doubt, do not hesitate to consult in order to detect strabismus and begin rehabilitation.

The danger is that over time the brain chooses to ignore the information provided by the weaker eye, which is then no longer used and may end up losing all ability to see. This is called amblyopia. This is irreversible from the age of 6.

Early detection

Early detection of strabismus allows it to be treated properly. So, you need to consult a pediatrician even when you have the slightest doubt. Strabismus should be looked for regularly until the age of 6: it is best-taken care of before the age of 2 and a half. Early detection helps to prevent amblyopia.

Treatment from pediatricians

  • The first stage of treatment is orthoptics. This helps to rehabilitate the eyes and regain effective vision by working the six muscles that guide each eyeball. For this, it is common to use, even in toddlers, glasses equipped with obstacles or prisms in order to “work” the eye with weak vision.
  • The use of botulinum toxin to alleviate severe strabismus. Another treatment used in cases of convergent strabismus at a wide-angle, even in very young children: the injection of botulinum toxin in addition to orthoptic rehabilitation. Provoking few side effects, it is then administered under general anaesthesia to paralyze overactive muscles. The regulation then takes place as the effects of the botulinum toxin subside, usually within 5 weeks. Strabismus is then reduced in a number of cases (between 40% and 60% depending on the number of injections). Also used in oculomotor paralysis, botulinum toxin causes stable divergence of the eye. Between one and three injections are usually given, each six months apart.
  • Surgery as a last resort. When strabismus persists despite everything, it is sometimes necessary to come to surgery to reorient the eyeball. Possible from the age of 2 or 3 years but poorly reimbursed by Social Security, orthoptic surgery often requires several interventions to gradually correct the significant strabismus and avoid decompensation of the eye in the other direction. It should be supplemented by rehabilitation sessions and the wearing of orthoptic glasses.

Contact Pediatricians in Gastonia NC

Strabismus is quite common; it affects about 5% of children. In all cases, it is important to remember that the earlier strabismus is detected and treated, the less the treatment will be heavy to bear and the greater the chances of reorientation of the eyes.

You need to consult your pediatricians at the slightest hint of Strabismus in your child. Contact  Gastonia Pediatric Associates, your Gastonia area pediatricians, offers top-quality pediatric care.