Crossed eyes are a commonly used term for the technical phrases esotropia. This condition occurs where either eye may look straight ahead and the other eye will be turned inward toward the nose.
The condition develops generally in early infancy or childhood. Many children during the first three to four months of life will have some intermittent crossing of their eyes. However, persistent crossed eyes in young children after the age of three to four months should be considered a serious condition. The eye that is turned begins to be ignored by the brain and eventually that image can be fully suppressed. If the condition is not properly treated, that can lead to permanent functional blindness.
Esotropia can also occur in the teen and adult population. This can be related to systemic disorders like: high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes or other brain injuries. These health-related problems will either effect the nerves that communicate between the brain and the eye or the eye muscles themselves. The first sign of a problem is usually double vision. This should result in a prompt referral to a physician.
Treatment of misalignment of the eyes includes correcting a refractive error with glasses. Patching or other devices to force the use of the less-preferred eye is commonly used. After these basic interventions, if the eyes are still not aligned, surgical adjustment of the eye muscles may be needed.
Detection of these eye problems, both in childhood and later years, is crucial. Your child should be examined by their pediatrician during the pre-school years and evaluated for this and other disorders.