Strabismus? Doctor's visit required?
May 5, 2016 9:01 AM   Subscribe

My 5-year-old sometimes makes a face with her eyes crossed, just to look silly. Last night I noticed one eye moves more to the corner/center than the other when she does it.

This hasn't happened before now (but it was repeatable this morning). Is this indicative of a problem and do I need to take her to see a doctor? I'm thinking the obvious answer is yes, but is this just a 'thing' that happens in kids maybe? Temporary out-of-the-blue strabismus? Is the answer here "Don't cross your eyes"? How concerned should I be?
posted by kitcat to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Kids should get an eye exam, they're pretty inexpensive. I was diagnosed with Lazy Eye at the age of 2.

Even if there's no problem, you'll sleep better.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:21 AM on May 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Yes, please do take her in and have her eyes checked. My "he's a gross-motor kid" was quite far into a vision problem before we were able to identify it from his outside behaviours.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:22 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

My friend could do this as a parlour trick, move one eye almost independent of the other when both eyes were crossed. It was... Gross looking but not a cause of concern.

That being said by 5 years old a child should at least have visited the optometrist once. Especially before starting school. A friends son wasn't looking through both eyes and there was no sign of it except at the routine pre-kindergarten eye exam that she took him to.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:29 AM on May 5, 2016

Yes, have the kid checked out by someone who is also a member of COVD. We had vision issues and were blown off by the first eye doc and got appropriate vision therapy from a second. find docs here

Go to a real deal eye doc with an extensive practice who does more than just corrective lenses, not a drop-in doc temporarily associated with a huge eye glass chain.
posted by tilde at 9:54 AM on May 5, 2016

Thanks tilde, I was able to find a doctor through your link and we'll be heading there this afternoon!
posted by kitcat at 10:09 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

On the other side of things, my perfectly normally-sighted mother can cross her eyes with one looking into the bridge of her nose and one pointing straight forward. Creepy looking but has no apparent sight implications.
posted by hepta at 11:19 AM on May 5, 2016

I have absolute eagle eyes (40-20 vision) and can cross my eyes one at a time, or both (hence my username!) I learned how at age 5. All you do is look at a point that's not quite in the centre of your nose. So it might well be fine and just an amusing parlour trick. Probably still good to check though.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:44 PM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

So the doctor, who was fabulous with kids and did a very thorough examination, deemed her to have perfect eye health. She said that since the eye moving independently of the other eye was entirely under her control and done on purpose, there was nothing to be concerned about - but that I should probably discourage her from doing it. Anyways, cool party trick in the future if it persists, I guess :) And pseudostrabismus, I've always enjoyed your username, so thanks for commenting here!
posted by kitcat at 6:22 PM on May 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Just to further allay your fears I'm nearing middle age and have no problems with my eyesight. I can control each eye independently (somewhat) and can therefore look at two things at once. It is a bit disorientating, so I don't do it much, and I can't do it to a major extent without thinking about it except sometimes I just slip into looking at things a few inches apart. Oddly I can also make my eyes rapidly shake back and forth by "focusing" on a point within my own skull. It is one of my stupid human tricks.
posted by koolkat at 7:55 AM on May 6, 2016

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