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  • Topic: Eye, Depth perception, Binocular vision
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  • Published : May 28, 2006
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Strabismus, or crossed eyes, is the medical term used when the two eyes aren't straight, which is when one eye will wander in or out, or up and down. It occurs in approximately 2%-5% of the population. Strabismus may be present all the time or may only appear when a child is tired, ill, or concentrating on a nearby object. A child may be born with the condition, or it may develop within a few months of birth or around two years of age. Most often, strabismus is due to a persisting eye muscle imbalance.

Strabismus is most commonly inherited, so if this condition is present in any of your family members your kid will have a chance at getting it. A tumor in the eye or a cataract may also cause strabismus. The best thing to do for a person with strabismus is go in and have frequent eye examinations.
Six eye muscles are attached to the outside of each eye. Two of these muscles move the eye right of left and the other four muscles move it up or down. To focus on one object the eye muscles must be balanced and work together. If the eyes don't work together, each eye will send a different picture to the brain. The brain then combines the two pictures into one three-dimensional image. The problem, however, is that the brain can't blend the two images into one so the child unconsciously stops using the weaker eye. This is the cause of amblyopia or more commonly known as "lazy eye" in the eye that isn't being used, which could leave the child nearly blind in that eye, unless it is treated at an early age. A child with amblyopia will not have and chance of developing depth perception.

Children can't outgrow strabismus. To check for strabismus you can shine a flashlight on their eyes. When the child is looking at the light, a reflection can be seen on the pupil. If the eyes are properly aligned, the light reflection will be the same in each eye. If the eyes aren't aligned properly, the reflection will appear in different locations....
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