What's Going on with My Toddler's Eyes?

Updated on November 15, 2010
H.M. asks from Columbia, MO
12 answers

Hey Mamas!
The last few days, we've noticed that our two-and-a-half year old daughter's eyes have been crossing a little bit. We've never noticed anything like this happening before and the last few days she's skipped her nap. We didn't notice it yesterday until she was about an hour past her regular nap time (we were at a football game at the time). Her eyes were just red rimmed and she was staring a lot until she finally conked out for about thirty minutes in the middle of all of the chaos. Then, last night, she slept great (more than 12 hours) and her eyes looked fine when she woke up and all throughout the day. And then, she proceeded to skip her nap again even though she went down at the regular time today. (She just played in her room and sang until we gave up on her sleeping.) At dinner, we noticed one of her eyes crossing a little bit again. It's not always the same eye either.

Could it be that she's just tired? Have any of you experienced this? Should we be worried about her getting a lazy eye (or eyes) or something else? Her right eye seemed to be doing it the most often yesterday, so my husband covered up her left eye and had her track his finger while he was moving it from side to side and up and down. She did that just fine.

Should we be worried?


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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone so much for your helpful advice. I called her Pedi first thing this morning and filled her in on what's happening. She said to watch her for a few weeks and if we keep noticing it, then she'd refer us to a Pediatric Opthamologist at the University here in Columbia. Her eyes have looked great so far today, and as she's snoozing right now (and has been for the last few hours) I'm hoping that we won't see any crossing today. Thanks again! You all have been very helpful!

Featured Answers



answers from St. Louis on

I agree that you should get her looked at by a peds ophthalmologist. It might be nothing and then you you don't have to worry about it anymore. Kathy L is right Dr. Dibler is great!

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answers from St. Louis on

First, I want to say you should not worry. If your daughter is healthy and functional in every other way, this may well be a minor hiccup in muscle development around the eyes as she is growing. So, you may want to just observe it for a few weeks to see if it continues. In the mean time, you can arm yourself with as much information as possible on the subject so you won't need to worry and will be able to make choices comfortably and confidently. One thing you may want to note is whether or not your daughter recently experienced any kind of whiplash, head bumps, emotional truama, immunizations, etc, that may have de-stabalized the neuromuscular balance or control of her eyes.

I am a therapist who has had a good amount of success in helping to normalize and balance eye function and movement with specialized approaches of acupressure and kinesiology. It is completely and painless and non-invasive. I have worked in conjunction with an optometrist who specializes in visual therapies. I read that many people have suggested that you see an ophthalmologist, but you should understand the different treatment options available so you can make a more informed choice. From my experience and in my opinion, most ophthalmologists recommend surgery far too wantonly. In many cases it appears to have been unnecessary and even less effective. If you allow for surgery first, it may well limit what could be done therapeutically. So, I always recommend therapy first.

What I discovered in my own research is that most optometrists are not trained to offer visual therapy. Although all ophthalmologists must be trained to offer visual therapy, it is a time intensive process that most ophthalmologists will not invest because surgery is far more convenient. There are some optometrists who have received the training in visual therapies. These doctors usually practice visual therapy as their main practice. They commonly work with children like yours and children with learning difficulties. So, you may want to do a search to find a doctor who specializes as a visual therapist. I do know a very trustworthy optometrist in Columbia that may be able to help advise you. His name is Dr. Jalali. In St. Louis County, there is a Dr. Lisa Dibler who is a visual therapist. She is very dedicated and marvelous with children. Her office may be able to help you find a visual therapist near you.

The integrative therapies I offer, I must admit, are often the easiest and most effective. However, I do not know of anyone in your area that practices this type of specialized kinesiology. Also, most insurance companies have not yet recognized the value of these therapies, largely because there are so few practitioners and we are not medically trained. It is still considered an 'alternative' therapy.

I just wanted to make sure you have as much information as possible. I have seen parents accept the surgical approach and still not solve the problem. If surgery is suggested, you may want to look into the success rate of that type of surgery. From what I have learned, it is much like the knee surgery so many people get and more than half of them report no improvement.

Hope this helps you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Please take her to the doctor and get a referral to see an eye specialist.


answers from Phoenix on

I would get them checked. It could be so many things. Glasses is not out of the ordinary for a small toddler. Maybe it is visual theorpy and she needs some eye excersises. Maybe it is being tired and starting to do a lazy eye which would need some eye theorpy. I would just go and get her looked at now. Waiting til she is in school may be worse.



answers from New York on

Get her to a pediatric opthamologist. My son was 2 when his eye turned.
We were in the doc s offcie the next day. He was extremely farsightged.
When he got his glasses, he did not eat for 3 days. He just kept touching
things. Broke my heart. Never noticed. Doc said I would not have
before his eye turned. Had I not taken him to doc, I would have noticed
different things like tripping etc. He just needed glasses.



answers from Detroit on

take her to a pediatric opthamologist ASAP, kids eyes can be normal and then suddenly cross.. they do surgery or patching.. but it works better if caught early.. and it will be more pronounced if the kid is tired.



answers from Sacramento on

HI Hilary,
I'm on board with everyone else. Go to a ped opthamologist. If she does have an issue such as a lazy eye (or amblyopia), the sooner you catch it the better. Since it is a neurological problem as well as a visual one, you'll have until she's about 8 to correct it. For what it's worth, if it is a lazy eye there's a good chance of correction. Our daughter wasn't diagnosed (and therefore treated) until she was 4 and she's almost 7 and it's corrected.

If you'd like additional info, feel free to message me privately.

Take care



answers from Denver on

Absolutely get her to a pediatric opthamologist. My toddler has a lazy eye and astigmatism and now wears glasses. We never would have known about the astigmatism if we hadn't gotten the lazy eye checked. Most likely nothing serious but it needs to be checked out! Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

My sons eye was turning inwards and he ended up needing glasses. He was 6 when his eye started doing this. It could be tiredness but I would schedule and appointment for an eye test to make sure , if she does need glasses or has a lazy eye , the earlier you start glasses or patching the more effective it is.


answers from Topeka on

Lazy eye possibly. I have lazy eye. When I get extremely tired, my lazy eye tends to wander. You can take her to an eye doctor at this young age. The will be able to tell you whether she has it or not. I did not see an eye doctor until 2nd grade so my parents never knew until then. If you catch it early, you may be able to do strengthening exercises to help strengthen the muscles behind her eyes so she won't have to end up having surgery one day.


answers from Kansas City on

Definately get her eyes checked by your doctor or a pediatric optomologist. A friend of mine's eyes do that when she is tired also. She is an adult, but wears glasses or contacts. I can always tell when she is tired b/c her eyes start to cross. Just in case it is something else, I'd get her checked out. Hope this helps, Good luck and God Bless.



answers from Laredo on

My son had this happen to him and I didnt even notice it. He was at his Nonie's house & she had some friends over, one of them asked my mom if he was a little cross eyed. That's when we started noticing it.
I did take him to the eye doctors and at first they said it was just when he was tired his eye muscles would get a little weak and they would cross or drift. They did give him glasses to wear.
Fast forward a year & a half later, two different eye glass prescriptions, patching & nothing was really helping. So when he was 3 he had eye surgery to strengthen the muscles in his eyes. He is fine now. No problems and has great vision.
You should probably take her to see an eye doctor just to be safe, if it is something like a lazy eye untreated it can get worse fast. Especially if you or your husband or any of her grandparents had eye issues.
Try not to stress to much about & just take her to the doctor.

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