Discovering Vision Therapy Blog

Should you be concerned about a cross-eyed baby?

Posted by Greg Mischio on October 20, 2011

cross-eyed baby


It’s not uncommon to have an eye turn, but is there a point where you should be concerned about a cross-eyed baby?

While the answer is yes, know that in the first month or two, you can expect your baby’s eyes to have alignment issues.  The muscles that control the eyes are developing, and eye turns are not uncommon.  At times one eye may look like it’s pointing out, another may look like it’s pointing up.  The eyes are just learning how to work together.

These sporadic alignment issues are normal.  However, you should be concerned if there is a constant eye turn in any direction.  If you notice this happening with your baby, monitor it.  Watch the frequency, and try to keep track of how long it lasts.

What action should you take with a cross-eyed baby?

If you see a constant eye turn, consider taking your baby to a developmental optometrist. The first step a developmental optometrist will take is to characterize the eye turn.  What type of eye turn is it?  What is causing it?  How severe is it?

Your biggest concern: Will the eye turn impact the development of other vision skills?  Why is this important?  Because it is our philosophy, based on studying infant and child development, that vision leads a child’s overall development.

The basic idea is that movement is critical in a child’s development of fine and gross motor skills.  If you’re not seeing well and you don’t have correct perception of visual space, your ability to move through space will be negatively impacted. Vision needs to lead; it needs to give the developing child a place to go.

What can a developmental optometrist do?

A developmental optometrist who practices vision therapy can use different activities and exercises to help facilitate better vision development.  Emphasis is often put on the physical appearance of the eye, and not the functionality of the overall visual system.  It’s important to remember that the most important aspect of an eye turn is that it’s an indicator of a child’s vision not developing normally.

The activities and exercises used with an infant are not at the same level as those we use with older children and adults.  For example, a modified tracking activity may be used to get the baby’s eyes moving together.

An eye turn is a condition that should be addressed as early as possible in an infant’s life.  Vision problems are easier to correct in the earlier stages of the vision development.  If you notice sustained eye turns after the first month or two of a baby’s life, be sure your child receives a Functional Vision Test. 

(Photo by CodyR)

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Topics: vision problems, Vision therapy for children, Cross-Eyed