Crossed Eyes in Newborns: Causes and Treatment


No matter how the baby looks , whether he has curly hairs or smooth straight hair or even no hairs , has a pointed nose or small eyes , to his parents he is the most innocent and mesmerizing thing to their eyes. Every parent admire their child the most. The perfect chubby blushing healthy baby is all what everyone imagines. The features which make newborn look normal are not permanent .  Sometimes baby’s appearance is normal , parents might point out some differences in their baby as compared to other babies. Such an abnormality we discuss below is “Crossed eyes “.

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cross eyed baby

In this article:

What are Crossed Eyes?
Symptoms of Crossed Eyes
How to Know the Baby has Strabismus?
Causes of Crossed Eyes
Risk Factors
Diagnosis of Crossed Eyes
Treatment for Crossed Eyes
Long Term Outlook for Crossed Eyes

All You Need to Know about Crossed Eyes in Newborns

What are Crossed Eyes?

Another name for  Crossed Eyes is Strabismus. In this condition the eyes don’t line up together. It is basically uncoordinated sync between the two eyes and pointing in different directions while focusing on a single object. Each of the both eye here focuses on different object. This defect is common in newborns but can also be seen in later part of life. In adults it could be secondary result of any other medical conditions like cerebral palsy or stroke.

Read More:Lazy Eye in Children: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Symptoms of Crossed Eyes

 If the baby has crossed eyes, where eyes are either pointing inward or outward or focusing different directions. Along with this following symptoms are also seen :

  1. Double vision
  2. Eye strain or headache which makes them irritated
  3. Impaired vision
  4. Decreased depth perception.

These symptoms can be continuous or can be seen only when they are tired or not feeling well.

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How to Know the Baby has Strabismus?

If the baby has strabismus , his eyes seem to be crossed or drifted towards inside , outside or upside. Eyes turning inside is known as esotropia , and when they turn out it is known as exotropia. Crossed eyes  could be constant or intermittent. In few cases, the baby’s eyes appear crossed especially during looking towards right or left. This is known as pseudostrabismus.

Most common example of pseudostrabismus is pseudoesotropia , here eyes are crossed inwards. The pseudostrabismus could be distinguished from true strabismus by a simple examination performed by the baby’s doctor.

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Causes of Crossed Eyes

Crossed eyes could be due to –

  • Due to nerve damage or defect in eye muscles which do not coordinate with each other as some of them are weak as compared to other muscles. Each eye deliver different visual message to the brain. Now the brain only appreciates signal from the stronger eye and ignores the signal from the weaker eye.
  • Hereditary Cause , this problem may run in the baby’s genes
  • Sometimes it can be idiopathic
  • Premature babies or babies with low birth weight seem to have a higher risk of developing the crossed eyes
  • Can be due to physical disorders such as eye injuries , cerebral palsy or stroke.

Read More:11 Natural Ways to Improve Your Child’s Vision

Risk Factors

Chances of developing crossed eyes is common in people with :

  • Genetic factors
  • Brain tumour or any brain disorder
  • Suffered from brain injury
  • Have lazy eye
  • Have retinal damage
  • Diabetes

Diagnosis of Crossed Eyes

Early diagnosis is necessary for prevention of vision loss. Consultation of doctor is required . He’ll perform certain test to check the eyes which will include these :

  • Visual acuity test ( to determine the distant reading skill)
  • Corneal light reflex test ( to check crossed eyes)
  • Measure deviation or uncoordinated movement of eyes
  • Retinal exam

Treatment for Crossed Eyes

Treatment basically depends upon severity and underlying cause of the crossed eyes . Some doctors may advise to wear a patch on the stronger eye to make or force the weaker eye muscle to work hard and develop. Even prescribe eye drops to blur the vision of the stronger eye.

Following are included in treatment

  • Eye Exercise
  • Wearing of spectacles
  • Operative surgeries if lenses could not treat the baby properly.

Long Term Outlook for Crossed Eyes

There are chances of coming back of strabismus after treatment so it is advised to patient to keep a watch on eyes for changes. In case of underlying medical condition, it is recommended for early diagnosis and treatment improve the chances of recovery.


Usually it is common for a newborn baby to have crossed eyes. But if this crossed eyes persist for more than 3 months of age , doctor visit is recommended. It is advised for children below 3 year to undergo an eye exam.


Hope this article was of help for all our parents!! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy and Healthy Babies!!