What is Cross Eye?
The term cross eyes refers to a visual defect or condition in which a person’s eyes cannot be align simultaneously, giving the eyes a crossed appearance. At it simplest level, the human visual system consists of the eyes and the brain. The eyes are responsible for sensing light reflected by the things around us. It is the brain’s act of interpreting this light that allows us to reconstruct the thing perceived in order for us to see it.
Cause of Cross Eye
Under normal circumstances, light bounces off the objects we ‘look’ at, then passes through the lens (a biconvex structure in that eye that is transparent and responsible for perceiving distances by changing shape). The light then travels to the fovea which is a small area found at the centre of the region in the retina called the macula. It governs central vision also referred to as foveal vision hence is responsible for visual sensibility.
When no defects exist, the light transmitted reaches both foveas and a three dimensional image is formed once the process reaches the brain which must interpret what was picked up by the fovea. When only one fovea receives the signal from the retina due to squinting or any other deviations, cross eyes occur.
Also referred to a “wall eyes”, the medical term for cross eyes is Strabismus. As mentioned before, the condition occurs when both eyes cannot be focused on the same object at the same time. One or both eyes may have the tendency to point up or down as well as in or out. The affected eye or eyes may be turned in a particular direction at all times as in the case of constant Strabismus or the eyes may look averted occasionally. The occasional turning of eyes; referred to as intermittent Strabismus, can occur when eyes are affected by pressure or when the affected person is ill.
Regardless of the type of the condition being experience, proper evaluation and treatment must be sought to control or correct it. Approximately 3 to 5 percentage of children suffer from cross eyes to some degree and the idea that children eventually grow out of the condition is now a debunked myth.
Cross Eyes Treatment
In children, if only one eye is affected, among the first steps taken is covering the unaffected eye with a patch to prevent the child from relying on the properly developed eye. This can prohibit the visual development of the crossed eye, rendering the situation permanent especially in the absence of treatment. Starting treatment as early as 6 months often guarantees quick recovery with the average one year old needing one week to recover. Once children reach age six or beyond a full year may be necessary. Surgery is also an option. If chosen, the earlier it is carried out, the better however, the condition and patient are factors in deciding when the best time is.
Upon restoration of normal vision or after successful surgery, patients may be required to use ‘eye exercises to complete full visual correction