20 Month Old with 'Lazy' Eye

Updated on May 06, 2011
M.S. asks from Clearwater, FL
11 answers

My 20 month old has been looking a bit cross-eyed lately. His left-eye seems to be at this center near his nose when he's looking straight at me. I noticed it when he was a baby, but it seemed to go away until recently. My husband had the same issue when he was little, so it could be genetic.

Do I take him to an eye doctor or just the pediatrician?
Thanks so much!

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answers from Philadelphia on

take him to a pediatric eye doctor please. It is something that should be looked at right away. If not treated he could have loss of vision in one eye. I live in south jersey also. One doctor that is very good is Bruce Schnall, he is a pediatric eye doctor.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Take him in. My DD has a wandering eye, but it wanders "out" and when things are far away. Ive had her to the optometrist (sp!) 3x, and we go every 3 months, they are "keeping an eye on it", for now. They told me that if the eye turns in, its of more concern, than turning out. Its normal or common enough for eyes to wander, but if it doesnt correct itself while they are young, the brain is trained to listen to the stronger eye, as opposed to both. Then, if that happens, while they can tighten the muscle to bring the wanderer in with the other, that eyes signal doesnt register in the brain. Both Dh and I have a wandering eye, as do our fathers. Dh had his surgically "fixed" as a child, I did exercises (that are no longer popular.) I needed a referral from the family doc. So maybe start with the pediatrician. Google wandering eyes a bit for more info, some dr's seem to be unconcerned about it, but it should really be dealt with.

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answers from San Francisco on

A good pediatrician will have you take him to the eye doctor. My son had this. You have to patch the good eye, to make the lazy eye connect with the brain and do its job. It's good your son is still young. I just caught it in time with my son. If they are past a certain age, about four I think, the lazy eye will never connect with the brain. I would take him right away.

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answers from Dallas on

M., My son had the same thing. I noticed it when he was 10 months old. At first it was every now and then, mostly when he was tired. Then it gradually started to happen all the time. I took him to a pediatric optimologist. He suggested surgery to correct it. It was a very quick (15-20 mintues) outpatient surgery and he hasn't had any problems since. We recently went for a eye exam check up and the dr said that his eyesight is now "perfect"!

Oh, by the way, the medical term is Intermittent Exotropia. Is not that uncommon. My son had his corrective surgery at 15 months. Good luck to you!



answers from Pittsburgh on

My daughter had to have corrective eye surgery at 9 months old, so I've had a little experience with this. My suggestion would be to take your child to see the pediatrician first and explain your concerns to them (including the fact that your husband had the same issue as a child). They will be able to give you their thoughts and give you the name of a good eye doctor to then make a follow-up appt with. You want to engage your ped in the discussion though, so that they can also continue to follow things on their end, in between your visits with the eye doctor. The eyes are very tricky, so you definitely want to take your child to a pediatric opthamologist (versus a doctor that deals with adults) and your ped is probably the best source for a referral on that. Just know that it could be something and it could just be an optical illusion of sorts and the pediatric opthamologist can do a in-depth review and give you their formal opinion. Good luck!



answers from Philadelphia on

I would consult a pediatric eye doctor. I don't know if it is to early to start working with the eye but you don't want to wait until it is to late. My son was in kindergarten before we realized he had a lazy eye (he even cheated on pediatric eye tests given yearly). We took him to a pediatric eye doctor and patched his eye for years and his vision did improve but if we had caught it earlier he probably would have perfect vision now. Now he has some vision in the eye but I wish I had realized as early as you did !!!!

Hope all works out for you !!

K. I.

Good luck


answers from Topeka on

Eye doctor. I have lazy eye. They will correct it by making him wear glasses and a patch over the good eye. Catching it early will help strengthen the muscles in the weak eye. My eye only "wanders" now when I am tired. Usually that just means I need to go to sleep. I can not see out of my lazy eye, but with glasses, I can see 20/20 with it... which the doctor said is a rare case. Good Luck! Good thing you are catching it early!



answers from Allentown on

Sounds like a lazy eye. I have one, they started patching my eye and I wore glasses when i was around 5. Did that through 6th grade. It helped some but not enough. Now they start treatment much younger and I think there is even a surgery they can do now. For me I have never been able to see in 3D, I have great difficulty with depth perception and I need to constantly protect my good eye because if I were to lose vision in that eye, I would be legally blind since the vision in my lazy eye is so bad. I would get treatment sooner than later. Both my kids were checked for it, before age 2 because of me having it. They went to a pediatric ophthalmologist who specializes in lazy eyes.



answers from Pittsburgh on

If you have a way to find a pediatric ophthalmologist go there. But if you don't or you need specialist referral for insurance then go to your pediatrician. You have caught it in good time. Don't panic. It is not an emergency. It is an urgent situation of course. If you don't start working on it then the child's development will be affected in the long run. The dual vision will not develop which has implications with depth perception and such. Good luck with everything.



answers from San Antonio on

Get to the pediatric ophthalmologist ASAP...call your pediatrician for a referral (make sure the referral is on your insurance so get a couple of names...like top three choices).

My daughter has this and ended up having surgery to correct it at about two and a half years old.

If it is not fixed they can go blind in one eye. The brain stops receiving signals from the "lazy" eye and then they only see out of one eye. The longer it goes on the longer it can take to fix. So get him to the doctor and get it evaluated.

My daughter was blessed to not have lost any vision and doesn't even need glasses. The surgery corrected her eyes. But I will admit my husband and I check her eyes all the time just out of habit because we want to make sure they stay straight.

PM me if you have any questions...HUGS!!



answers from Allentown on

Opthomologist, definitely. "Lazy" eye can have any of several different causes that call for several different remedies. My son only needed glasses. Some need patches and/or exercises. Some need surgery. You want someone who knows what they're talking about.

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