Most commonly, a tendency to have some type of strabismus is inherited. If any members of your family have had strabismus, the condition is more likely to develop in your child.
Sometimes the condition is due to the eyes being far-sighted and the need for corrective eyeglasses or, occasionally, to some muscle abnormality. Very rarely, strabismus may be secondary to a serious abnormality inside the eye, such as a cataract or tumour.
What can I do to reduce risk?
Any cause for poor vision in one eye in a child may lead to strabismum. There are many causes for poor vision in one eye, but a major concern of ophthalmologists is retinoblastoma, a malignant tumor of the retina. Although it is very rare, in the range of one in 20,000 children, this possibility is why every child with strabismus should have a pupil dilated examination of the retina as soon as strabismus is recognized.
To detect poor vision in one eye or the other, parents should take children for regular eye examinations. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends regular eye exams according to the following timetable:
- Newborn to 3 months
- 6 months to 1 year
- 3 years (approximately)
- 5 years (approximately)
However, if you or your child notices problems with his or her vision, visit the eye doctor immediately.