Strabismus (squint/cross eyed)
Children and adults with strabismus can have a false cross-eyed appearance, when in fact, they have pseudostrabismus rather than genuine strabismus. Pseudostrabismus is when an adult or young child has a flat, wide nose, together with a fold in the skin of the inner eyelid. An additional characteristic of pseudostrabismus can be double vision. Physically, the fold in the skin of the inner eyelid can improve as the child grows; however, genuine strabismus does not improve with age.¹²
Why is my child or newborn cross-eyed?
Here are the most common types of strabismus causing a squint in babies and children:¹³,¹⁴
- Esotropia: This kind of strabismus is when the eyes are turned inwards, and tends to be common in infants. Children with esotropia may struggle to make their eyes work together and may need vision therapy to get both eyes to work as a team.
- Accommodative esotropia: In this type of strabismus, the child's eyes turn inwards upon focusing on a single object to see it clearly. This can also happen in the case of focusing on an object in the distance.
- Exotropia: Exotropia is the opposite of esotropia and involves the turning outwards of one or both eyes. It is also known as divergent strabismus or divergent squint. With this type of strabismus, the child may struggle to view and focus on objects at a distance, and may need to squint one eye to see objects clearly (particularly in broad daylight).
Medically reviewed by Dan McGhee on September 29, 2022