24 answers

6 Month Old with Strabismus

My daughter is currently 6 months old and she has been diagnosed with Strabismus in her eyes. She has been crossing both of them ever since she was born. She has been seen by a Pediatric Opthamologist and was given a prescription for glasses. The doctor thinks the strabismus could be caused by a focusing problem. The glasses are quite strong and started to bring the eyes back out at first, but now they are back to their normal crossed place again. I would think that after having the glasses for 3 months it would have made some sort of an improvement, but they haven't. The doctor told us at her last appointment that since she has been doing a good job of keeping her glasses on, then he was going to see her in another 3 months and see how she is doing. She now will not keep her glasses on. He said if her eyes are not making any improvement, then she will more than likely need surgery because it would be a muscle problem and not a focusing one, but will find out more this November.

My question is this, I read online where a lot of infants had surgery and ended up needing like 2-3 more surgeries after that because it takes more than 1 surgery to get them corrected. Is this correct? I cannot believe that the doctor wouldn't mention this and I would get a second opinion, but from what I have read online there is no other way to treat strabismus other than glasses, a patch or surgery. The patch won't work because both eyes are bad. The doctor has her prescription of glasses at +4 OD & +4 OS. I believe my OD & OS are like .5 and my eyes are almost 20/20 so I cannot imagine how bad her eyes are.

My husband's family had the same trouble, but I do not think they were diagnosed with strabismus. His sister & niece both had crossed eyes when they were born, but was corrected by a patch. Lazy eye runs in my family. The doctor said that even after the surgery, she will need to wear glasses because her eyes are really bad.

I feel so bad for my daughter because I really do not want her to get the surgery because I would hate for her to go "under the knife". Has anybody here every had this problem? I try to stay positive about this because it will help her out in the long run, but all I do when I think about her having surgery is what bad could happen and I just start crying.

Please somebody help me. Any advice at this point will do!!!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

We do not see the dr until November, so until then it is a waiting game. I got some very good suggestions from a few people that went to the Cleveland Clinic. I will see if my insurance covers them and if they do, I will try to get my daughter in there. Thank you to all of you that responded!!!!!

Featured Answers

I can tell you that I do not know much about strabismus...but I have nystagmus. I recently found someone who is doing research on both and may be what you need to help you decide what to do. Email me and I will give you the specifics if you are interested.

More Answers

My Nephew had this problem as a infant and got his first glasses at 3 months old, at 9 months he had his first surgery,a second around 6 years old and his last in junior high school.He is now 25 and still wears glasses but see's much better now. It was a muscle problem with him they said but it was suppose to have been a inherited thing , no one on either side of the family has had that problem. I detected it at 2 months old but my sister thought I was crazy, she said all babies eyes look a bit crossed some times. I told her she was wrong and we took him to a specialist.We later found out that a drug the Doctor gave her when he wouldn't believe she was pregnant had caused the problem. Childrens hospital paid for all of his eye surgeries and my sister has sued the Dr.

My mom could probably answer this better! LOL I was little and had strabismus. I had surgery and was fine didn't need classes till I was in 3rd grade I have a really high prescription (my parents both have a less prescription then I do! LOL) and were contacts now that I am 25. I have worn contacts since I was 16. I haven't had to have any more surgeries but have been told my eye still goes off when I am tired. So the dr said if it gets worse I could need the surgery. I hope not!!! I have 3 kids of my own to take care of now! Anyhow to do these excerises with my eyes focusing on a pencil and moving it around. So I have been doing that when I think of it. To streghthen the muscle in the eye.
Hope that helps!! My mom said that was one of her hardest days me going into surgery at I believe 4. I came out and when I did wake up I yelled that she lied to me. Said it broke her heart. She had told me I only needed one shoot.. lol I got 2! I guess I was mad at her! So then she was really sad! LOL funny to look back now!

My sister has 3 kids ... 2 of which have had surgery for strabismus at a very young age. Her oldest son, who is now almost 20 years old, actually had surgery two or three times and after wearing glasses for a while, he is now perfectly fine. Her daughter, who just turned 18, had surgery once and she has worn glasses or contacts for most of her life. I'm sure it's a tough decision to make to put your daughter "under the knife", but I'm certain you'll know you made the right decision.

Good luck!

Our Pediatric Opthalmologist is David Plager, and he's EXCELLENT.

Our oldest daughter - her left eye started crossing about at 1.5-2 years old, and we took her to see him. The first thing we tried was glasses. Well, her left eye started staying straight, but her right eye then started crossing.

We had the surgery done, and it seems to have done the job. She still wears glasses, but her eyes aren't crossing anymore. They did tell us that it might take 2-3 times to "get it right" - and I asked him how long a period of time were we talking about? Meaning, over the course of a year, two years, what? He said "as long as she's growing" - so she could need that 2nd surgery (or maybe even 3rd) anytime before she's 18.

Yes, the surgery was hard to endure - mostly for us parents, but she was a champ! And you're right - you have to just keep telling yourself that it's in the child's best interest. We hated having tubes put in her ears too, but it helped her so much, and she hardly had any ear infections while she had them in (where she was having them ALL the time beforehand).

Good luck!

Dear V.: I am an adult with a lazy eye that should have been surically corrected but was not. It has caused problems for me my whole life. I was picked on as a child and have had issues with adult relationships as a result. The patch will only work to strenghthen the muscles of the eyes to a certain exent. It the degree to which the eye turns is to high only surgery will correct the problem. And you are right it can take more than one surgery to correct the problem. It is better to have the surgery earlier in life than later as it can effect depth perception. ( I have none.)
Please see a specialist at childrens as they are the best in the area.

I have looked into having the surgery as an adult but insurance will not cover it at my age and its now considered a cosmetic procedure.

My friends son had his surgery with a specialist at Children's and they helped pay for most of the procedure as they did not have insurance. Good luck.

Hi, V. -

I was diagnosed with strabismus when I was about 5. I was having lots of headaches while reading and I had 2 lazy eyes that would either turn in or turn out, depending on how tired I was.

At the time I was diagnosed, in the early 70s, I was apparently at the top of the age range for whom they could do anything about it, so they felt lucky they caught it then. I had surgery to correct the problem, and my eyes have been nicely in line ever since - no wandering, no fatigue, and every opthamologist I've ever seen since then has been astounded at what an incredible job my surgeon did.

I don't have great vision - but that's not the fault of the strabismus. So, I do wear glasses or contacts (my vision is 20/450 -- yeah, that's right. I am severely nearsighted). But, other than that, everything is perfectly normal for me.

I had to wear patches after the surgery to strengthen my eyes, and that went on for a while - maybe 6 months? I was only 5, so it's hard to remember. I know that I did not like the surgery, but what child would? But the recovery wasn't too painful - maybe just a day or two of discomfort. They shortened the muscles of my eyes (I think?), and overcorrected them, so I was sort of cross-eyed and saw double for a little while (a week? a couple days??) as the eyes straightened back out.

Anyway, I KNOW it must have been torture for my Mom to subject me to the surgery, though nobody let on how scared they might have been. I have been very grateful that they took the risk.

I can only imagine how much technology has progressed since 1976, and even back then the procedure wasn't too terrible. I would encourage you to seek multiple opinions on this from a variety of surgeons - see who's the best in the area, shop around. This is a lifetime decision. And then, if surgery is recommended, I would go for it, with the comfort of knowing that technology is on your side and doctors can do marvelous things these days.

Take care!



When my daughter was 2, she started being treated for "lazy eye". We patched on and off for 3 years according to the schedule, but it never helped. Even though the eye itself was perfectly healthy,and she could see with it when the other eye was covered, she was considered legally blind in that eye because it didn't function with the other-the brain has turned it off. It really ruins depth perception. At 5, the dr. said there's no use patching anymore, but that surgery had a 50/50 chance of correcting it for cosmetic reasons only. When he told me about the ordeal of surgery, the oozing, crusting, etc., I said absolutely not, especially for such a low effectiveness rate for cosmetic reasons only. I didn't want to put her through that and risk the sight she did have.

At 21, she decided to have the surgery for the cosmetic reasons, and it was bad. She had double vision for more weeks than was predicted and it was miserable healing from the surgery. She was scared. Finally, though, it turned out good for awhile, in that her lazy eye was straight and she thought her vision improved. However, 3 years later, her eye is starting to stray again and become "lazy". So any benefit seems to have been shortlived. I don't consider it to have been worth it, but at least she was an adult and made her own choice. She has said she will not have another surgery.

Now, if your daughter has 2 lazy eyes, can she see at all? You may not have a choice to leave well enough alone, but the success rate from the surgery does not seem too good, from what I found doing research. She is so little, find out what harm will be done if you wait, but keep patching or wearing glasses, etc. so it doesn't worsen. I know that the longer you wait to do these non invasive things, the worse it gets and less likely that it can be corrected. You caught it young, so that's in your favor. Good luck.

I had strabismus as a child. I wore glasses until jr. high and then I had two sugeries. I'm now 41 and aside from aging issues, my eyesight is great. I've never worn glasses or contacts. She doesn't HAVE to have the surgery right away. This isn't a life and death situation. It sounds like your dr. is being cautious, that he wants to try the least invasive treatment first. Talk to the dr. and go ahead and look for a second opinion. And then, when you are all ready and IF you want to go ahead, you can do the surgery when she's older. You have lots of time to figure out what to do, though the younger she is, the easier it will be to recover. But still, you could wait several years.

it's never easy when a doctor tells you your child may have to have surgery. i would ask the doctor for a second opinion, if he's a good doctor then he'll glad give you a referal to another MD. my son has had several surgeries & each time i ask thousands of questions & ask for another opinion. God be with you.

My little brother had Surgery on his eyes when he was like 10 months old ( he is now 14) to correct lazy eye in both of his eyes. He used to bump into walls and had a hard time grabbing things etc. After his surgery he had to wear a patch on one eye at a time for about 10 mins or so each and wear glasses(that was hard to get him to keep them on) But he was able to see so much better and no more bumping into walls. Since then he has not had to have any more surgerys and his eyes are perfectly straight. Although he does have to wear glasses still but the benefits outweighed the risks and it has helped tremendously. Hope this helps and good luck with everything.

Hi V., my daughter was diagnosed at the same age. Her eyes have improved with the use of glasses over the years. She wears a patch for a few hours a day and is nearly four. Rest assured surgery is a last option and they wait until your child is older. Don't panic, it's common and very treatable. Please go to http://www.solobambini.com/products.php and view their indestructible glasses for infants and toddlers. This eased alot of the frustration that came with putting one so young in glasses. Wire glasses are easily broken and can be very dangerous.

Also keep in mind that all infants have trouble keeping their eyes straight until they are a year old. Her muscles are not fully developed until then. My daughter didn't have good control with her glasses on until she was over a year old. And even now when she is tired she crosses them with her glasses on and always with them off.

I hope this helps I'll send you a private message with my e-mail in case you want to discuss further :)

I'm so sorry you are having to go through this. We just had our daughter evaluated for crossing as well. Our daughter ended up having pseudostrabismus which does not require treatment. However, strabismus runs in my family so I am very acute with her eyes which it sounds like you are too. Good mom!!! My sister had to have surgery for her strabismus when she was very young, probably about the same age as your daughter and did really well! Plus, that was 30 years ago. I believe she only had 1, but maybe 2, definitely no more than that. She did have to wear glasses (eventually she could wear contacts) after that. She also had a daughter (now 5) that had no vision problems at all :). I would ask your doctor for all possible scenarios so you will be prepared for more surgery, glasses, etc. I would also call him/her to let them know that she is crossing again despite the glasses and that she will not keep them on! Early intervention/correction is the key to fixing this. It sounds like you are doing an awesome job with her! Good luck!

Hi V.,
I am 36 years old and was born with crossed eyes. As an infant I had surgery to correct the muscle in both my eyes. I ended up having two other surgeries. I believe the others were when I was 3 or 4 and one at 6 or 7. It did correct my eyes so that I could focus and look straight. I did start noticing them wander again as a teenager and went back to the doctor. At the time he said that another surgery would have a 50% chance of working so I didn't do it. Since then I do notice my eyes wandering occasionally when I am tired but for the most part it is far better than when I was born, I would look straight down at my nose. I really didn't have any other sight problems thought so that may cause other issues for your daughter. So in short I did have to have multiple surgeries but that was over 30 years ago. It did work and I recovered quickly from each. I hope this helps and if your still unsure a second opinion could never hurt.

My then 2yr. old daughter didn't have crossed eyes but does have lazy eye. I was referred to a specialist in Vandalia, OH, which at the second visit, I wasn't impressed with him, so I switched to the other pediatric eye surgeon that they offered to me.
They started out with the eye patch, and her eyes weren't improving much at all so they did the surgery.
Her eyes have improved tremendously now (she is almost 7) and there is hope that by the time she reaches 10-12 she will not have to wear glasses anymore.
The surgery itself was probably only about one hour and was done on outpatient basis. They cut the eye muscles and when they grow back and heal, they are hopefully in the proper position.
The surgeon did warn that sometimes they do have to do a second surgery. But, he made known that they would rather "under do" the surgery and then let glasses straighten the eyes the rest of the way.
IT ISN'T a matter of the surgeon doing the surgery "just right", it just all depends on how the childs eye muscles respond to the surgery.
The surgery itself is very simple and short. The biggest part of what they warned me about (and it was TRUE in my daughters case), is that the anethesia they use can make the child very grumpy afterwards for about 3-6 hrs.

My second daughter had a very similar problem...noticed it at birth, but her pediatrician wanted to wait to see if she "outgrew" it. She patched for about 9 months and then we scheduled her first surgery. She then had a second surgery about 1 year later. She still has to wear glasses (she was +7 when we started and now is +5). Her one eye will drift up sometimes, especially if she is tired, but only when she is not wearing her glasses. She is able to see much better and her depth perception. It is so hard to send your baby to surgery, I can definitely empathize with you...best wishes. We used Pediatric Opthalmology (Dr. McGregor)at Col. Children's if you are looking for a second opinion. Feel free to email me questions!

I stongly feel for you. My son, now 5, had strabismus and still has lazy eye in his left eye only. We were told at 4 months to put glasses on him but he would not wear them. in fact he would not keep them on at all until he was about a year in a half. He started getting the glasses himself after seeing it made a bit of a difference, at age 2 he would put them on as soon as he got up so it take time for them to realize the difference. After my sons first birthday is when we had the corrective muscle surgery done. It made a HUGE difference in his appearance almost immediately. And he was running around the house as if nothing had happened that same day. The Tylenol with codeine seemed to do him just fine. His eyes were really red for about a week and then faded in the weeks after that. It was soooo hard to see him go back with the doctors, it crushed me, but I knew it was the first step in getting him to see better for the future. We too have a pediatric eye opthamologist. He was recommended by the hospital's NICU. (he was 2 months premature but they said it was genetics that caused this not the prematurity al though it didn't help...both myself and his uncle have lazy eye and his uncle had strabismus as a little boy) we have been dealing with the fights of patching to improve the lazy eye, he does not like patching AT ALL, but neither did I as a kid but I know first hand it make a BIG difference. It breaks my heart to know what he is going thru, emotionally it kills me to do it.
We did have a 2nd small surgery this past July to pull the lazy eye out a bit more. It was turning in again when he didn't wear his glasses and had started to even with his glasses. That is all due to the lazy eye not building up enough muscle. the right eye is just fine and didn't need any adjustments. this time he was a bit more uncomfortable because he could feel the desolvable stitch. but that went away in 2 days and he was just left with the redness. It is up to him and the eye muscle to keep from having another surgery. the more patching the stronger it will get and the less likely he is to have any other surgeries.
It was even harder the 2nd surgery since he knew what was going on and more aware than in the infant years.
please email me anytime if you have any questions...
it is good to have someone to talk to about this stuff and know that you are not the only one going thru this.
around here i feel all alone trying to correct Jake's eye and i have no one to talk to that understands. My mom is about the only on. My mother in law did not do the patching so my brother in law is pretty much blind in his lazy eye. i don't want that for my son so i deal with the heartbreaking fights of making him wear it.
I pray for your family and thank you for listening, ok, reading :-}
Take care,

Hello V.,
Our grandson has had two eye surgery's for lazy eye. The first time they over corrected so of course he had to have the surgery redone. The second time the surgery did not help but very little. His parents would not let him have surgery done again. I can't remember how old he was at the time of his surgery's.
For me I would have had it done again and pray they got it right that time.
There was a boy in the same room as our grandson and I overheard him tell a friend that he had just had his seventh surgery but I didn't hear what his problem was in the beginning.
The surgery is a very delicate one and I would get a second opinion and make sure that is what is needed at such a young age.
Our daughter was 21 months old when her Auntie wanted us to take her to Auntie's eye Dr. so we did and Yes he was going to set up an appointment for the surgery, we said we wanted to wait. We saw our daughters own eye Dr. and he said NO that if they made a mistake it could not be redone. This was over 45 years ago so you can see progress has been made. She has never had any eye surgery but does wear glasses now.
Our youngest son was put in glasses at the age of 5 and still wears glasses but he never had any eye surgery.
Our grandson wanted to join the Coast Guard but was turned down because of the eye surgery he has had. He joined the Army National Guards and now is in Iraq.
Good Luck and God Bless your family K.

Hi, my daughter had strabismus starting at 1 1/2 yr. old and she is now 14 and wearing contact lenses. One eye is worse than the other and the doctors did patch it on and off till she was 9 along with a strong glasses prescription. I realize its not the same case as your child, but surgery seems like it should be the last resort. Maybe you should get a second opinion and see what are your options. Find a pediatric opthomology specialist. Hang in there!

I was crosseyed when I was born too and had surgery on my left eye when I was 5 y/o to pull my eye straight and it was the best thing my mother could have done for me. My suggestion would be to keep trying the glasses for a year or so. i think 6 months old is too young for surgery, but in a year your daughter will be ready. Yes, she may have to continue to wear glasses, but having the surgery will help her self esteem. other kids can be so cruel. good luck!!

MY daughter who is 37 years old had strabismus and had surgery when she was 6 and 9 months old.It was done a Rainbows in Cleveland. After the 2 surgerys because they had to do both sides of the eye to straiten them glasses were worn for a little while and her are are perfect. My second daughter had no trouble with hers but my son had two surgerys too., so the same the and he did not use glasses. The doctors said it was in our family. MY brothers son had the same thing and he is 40 now. He was little when the did the surgery too. The surgery is alot easier when the child is young and I can say non of my two remember anything. It is just hard on the parents. Now my grandson of my oldest daughter they have notice his eye turning. He has a appt with the Cleveland Clinic Cole center downtown. Don't know it it is strabismus or lazy eye. But good luck and it is a fixable thing. e mail me back and we can talk. K.


My nephew had the same issue. He is now nine years old and three surgeries later he is much better. Hang in there. :)

I can tell you that I do not know much about strabismus...but I have nystagmus. I recently found someone who is doing research on both and may be what you need to help you decide what to do. Email me and I will give you the specifics if you are interested.

Hi V..
I don't have experience with Strabismus, but I am currently in the same boat as your daughter. I am almost 37 years old and I have Graves Eye Disease. I have had one surgery to my eyes and I am waiting to be scheduled for the eye muscle surgery. They have told me a pediatric surgeon does this one because they do far more eye muscle surgeries of this nature.
They have informed me that it's very similar to Strabismus surgery and that sometimes it takes more than one surgery to get the vision fine tuned. I have double vision all the time and they have also suggested I wear a patch. In my mind that is just not an option. It's frustrating to say the least. I am seeing a pediatric ophthalmologist at IU-Wishard and they are consulting with the specialists at Riley about my case.
From what I understand in the long run, the surgery is more than worth it. I have been through various surgeries with my kids and it was usually harder on me than it was my kids. Best of luck to you and keep us posted how it goes!

I have a grandson that was born with his eyes the same way that you are explaining, they are not lazy eyes they do need surgery perform on them, the nerves behind the eyes are streach out when they were born and they need to be tighten behind the eyes, sometimes they may need to be operated on more then once when they grow older and sometimes they do not have to be operated on any more depends on if the nerves streach behind the eyes, you need to get a very good eye doctor and eye specialist to operate, which my grandson had. He had to wear very thick glasses even after surgery until his eyes started correcting to the right position then he didn't have to have such thick glasses, he was able to have normal glasses to wear.
If you have any more questions my e-mail is ____@____.com

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