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Is strabismus dangerous in newborns: causes and treatment of pathology

Often, newborns notice some eye inconsistency when fixing their gaze. Sometimes this phenomenon is insignificant, and in other cases the deviations are too obvious not to pay attention to it. Not always squint in babies is a pathology. But it is important to distinguish in time a real problem from the non-dangerous feature of newborn babies.


What is strabismus in the newborn

Immediately after being born, the child begins to adapt to the world around him and learns to control his body. Being in the womb, the baby does not have the ability to acquire skills related to the organs of sight, so the formation of their functions to a greater degree occurs after birth.

The first few weeks, and sometimes months, the connection is established between the brain centers responsible for vision and the eyes themselves. During this period, a child who is not yet adapted to a full life cannot always control eye movements. That is why they often behave inconsistently.

Strabismus in baby

Up to two months, light asymmetry of the pupils is considered normal.

The imaginary effect of strabismus may occur due to the location of the bones of the child’s skull or skin folds in the corners of the eyes. The baby’s facial features change rapidly and take a more regular form, so the apparent defect disappears within a month.

In most cases, strabismus (or strabismus) in newborns is not a pathology, but a natural state. In the first month of life, it is definitely impossible to diagnose strabismus. Finally, the pupils are set to two, at least - to six months. If after half a year the defect does not pass on its own, this may indicate a true strabismus that needs to be treated.

Cross-eyes of a child at 6 months

If the squint is preserved for six months, you need to sound the alarm.

If there are concerns about congenital eye disease, you should regularly visit an oculist. Experts examine newborns in the maternity hospital in the first hours after birth. Scheduled examinations for suspected strabismus spend two, four and six months. The doctor determines the dynamics of the development of the defect and by six months makes a decision about the need for treatment.

Video: cross-eyed in children

Causes and factors of development

You need to watch your baby more carefully if there are factors that increase the risk of developing true strabismus:

  • heredity - if there is someone with a similar eye disease among relatives, it can be transmitted genetically, even after several generations;
  • other eye diseases - children with congenital visual impairment (hyperopia, myopia, astigmatism) are prone to the occurrence of secondary strabismus;
  • neurological disorders, including cerebral palsy (cerebral palsy) and Down syndrome;
  • stressful states;
  • past infections with a complication;
  • brain disorders in the area of ​​the visual center, as a consequence of complicated labor;
  • a large load on the eyes of the child, for example, the proximity of toys above the crib.
Toy over the crib

Too close positioning of toys above the crib may result in eye damage.

Forms of strabismus

Squint may be congenital or acquired. A distinctive feature of true strabismus is that only one eye is simultaneously deflected from the central axis, and often its mobility is limited or absent.

According to the type of deviation of the pupil from the central axis, the following forms of pathology are distinguished:

  • horizontal - the pupil is deflected in the direction of the bridge of the nose (esotropia) or in the direction of the temple (exotropia);
  • vertical - squinting eye looks up (hypertropy) or down (hypotropy).
Types of strabismus

Strabismus can develop differently

Depending on the involvement of one or both eyes, squint occurs:

  • monocular - always mows the same eye, in most cases its vision deteriorates in comparison with the second. This disease is called amblyopia. With prolonged inactivity, the process of vision loss may become irreversible;
  • alternating - both eyes are shifted from the central axis alternately.

In newborns, pathology is not diagnosed by constantly observing the dynamics of eye development. In order to determine the apparent strabismus in an infant, after two months of age you can conduct a small test: move the bright toy in front of the baby’s eyes up, down, right, left. During the movement of the pupils with a fixed gaze on the toy, it can be noted with the naked eye that the pupil of one eye has low mobility. That is, when one eye stops in the process, and the second continues to monitor the subject, there is a possibility of pathology. However, only a doctor can make final conclusions regarding the development of strabismus.


Treatment for strabismus should begin as early as possible. The equipment in many cases helps to make a diagnosis at the earliest stages, so if you suspect that the baby develops strabism, it is important to immediately consult a doctor. The treatment of newborns is not carried out. And after the child reaches five months, when confirmation of strabismus is confirmed, therapy is immediately started.

Newborn at the oculist

Preventive examinations of babies by an oculist help to detect strabismus at an early stage.

Treatment should be comprehensive, it includes:

  • occlusion - a normal eye is closed with the help of special glasses, which makes it possible to give a load to the deviated pupil, and with time it becomes in place;
  • vision correction with glasses with refractive disorders (myopia, hyperopia);
  • physiotherapy for the eyes, which is selected individually in each case, but it should be remembered that an incorrectly compiled set of exercises can aggravate the situation;
  • surgical intervention for the physical elimination of the defect.

The operation with strabismus is carried out by the radio wave method without incisions. You can even spend it, even at a very early age - in children up to a year.

The use of surgery without complex corrective treatment is ineffective. It is necessary to constantly monitor the child at the ophthalmologist and adhere to his recommendations. Even if the surgical method has helped to completely get rid of the defect, the squint may return.

Baby with glasses

By the age of 5 months, the child can already pick up corrective glasses

The visual apparatus of the baby will be formed up to three years. It is during this period, it is desirable to make the maximum possible to restore the correct position of the pupils.


If the infant has a predisposition to strabismus, it is especially important to carry out early prophylaxis to reduce the possible risks:

  • not have bright, eye-catching toys close to the face;
  • toys must be large, they must be hung at a distance of at least half a meter above the crib, on a straight line of sight of the baby;
  • Do not leave the newborn next to the included TV - its sounds will attract the child, he will try to see the picture on the screen.

These measures must be followed by everyone in order to protect the child from developing eye pathologies, no matter how big or small the risks are.

Video: Dr. Komarovsky about strabismus in newborns

Infant strabismus is not uncommon. This is a physiological feature of many newborns. If you undergo regular routine checkups and watch the baby’s eyes, you can avoid serious problems and take action if necessary.


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