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Your Baby Week Twelve


Updated July 16, 2014

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Babies with Crossed Eyes
By three to four months, your baby's eyes should be straight and should no longer be crossed.

By three to four months, your baby's eyes should be straight when looking at things and should no longer appear crossed.

Photo © Isabelle Limbach
If your older child's eye drifts outward (exotropia) or inward (esotropia), then it usually means that he has strabismus, or eyes that are not aligned properly. This often requires treatment with eye patching, glasses, and sometimes surgery.

Fortunately, it is usually normal for your babies eyes to sometimes turn outwards. In fact, in their first few months, babies don't focus well, which can cause their eyes to sometimes cross.

By three or four months though, your baby's eyes should be able to focus on objects by looking straight at them with both eyes. If your baby's eyes still look like they are crossing once he is three months old, then he should be evaluated by a pediatric ophthalmologist to see if he has strabismus.

Even before three or four months, if your baby's eyes always seem to be crossing, then it is a good idea to have his eyes checked.

Why is eye crossing a problem?

If you baby's eyes aren't aligned, then he may not be seeing well out of one of them. That can lead to amblyopia, which is decreased vision in one of your child's eyes.

Strabismus and your Pediatrician

In addition to being evaluated by a pediatric ophthalmologist, you should discuss any concerns about strabismus with your pediatrician. There are a few simple tests, including the cover test and corneal light reflex test, that may detect strabismus, that your pediatrician can try. In the cover test, your pediatrician covers one eye to see if the other one moves, which is a sign of strabismus. A pen light is used in the corneal light reflex test to see if the light reflex is in the same position on both eyes when the light is shown on them. If not, then that can be a sign of strabismus.


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