Crossed Eyes (Esotropia)
Accommodative Esotropia is a type of eye misalignment, called strabismus, where the eyes cross because of a far-sighted need for glasses. In accommodative esotropia, one eye will cross in toward the nose intermittently.
Most commonly, children will begin to have an eye cross in intermittently around age 2-3. It usually happens when they are focusing on an object, but will start to occur more frequently. Often, children will choose one ‘favorite’ eye and let the same eye cross in every time which can lead to amblyopia (‘lazy eye’) which can affect vision.
Can crossed eyes or wandering eyes be fixed?
Most children with accommodative esotropia only need glasses and have little to no crossing when wearing their glasses. Often, this is the only treatment they need. Sometimes, their ‘favorite’ eye continues to still see better even with wearing the glasses for a few months, in which case we need to patch their ‘favorite’ eye to make their amblyopic eye see better.
Occasionally, a child's eye crossing is only partially accommodative and may require eye muscle surgery to correct it. In these children, eye crossing may still occur, but eyes should be straight with their glasses on.
Most children with accommodative esotropia will grow out of it around puberty. They may need to continue wearing glasses into adulthood, but the eye crossing when they take their glasses off typically begins to resolve.
Seeing a Pediatric Ophthalmologist
If you think your child’s eyes are crossing in, it’s important to have it evaluated by a pediatric ophthalmologist so any strabismus, amblyopia (“lazy eye”), or high need for glasses can be ruled out. These conditions can often be easily treated in early childhood but are more challenging to treat when the child gets older.