What Does It Mean If Your Baby's Eyes Are Crossed?

Posted on: 27 April 2016

Many parents of infants find themselves at one time or another worried that their baby has crossed eyes. This is normal for many parents. If you believe your baby has crossed eyes, it may help you to know what the warning signs are and what causes babies eyes to cross.

Young Babies Cross Their Eyes Naturally

When babies are first born, they have little control over their eyes. They cannot focus on far away objects, nor can they move their eyes together all the time. As they grow, they develop muscle control that allows them to move their eyes from side to side at the same time (an ability known as "tracking"). For this reason, many young babies have eyes that wander and cross occasionally. This inadvertent eye crossing can happen as late as 6 months old, and is definitely a common occurrence before babies hit 6 months. In other words, if your baby crosses his or her eyes occasionally, this is not a cause for concern as long as the eyes straighten shortly thereafter.

Your Baby's Eyes Should Not Stay Crossed

If your baby's eyes cross and then stay crossed, this could be indicative of a problem. Amblyopia is a condition that many people refer to as "lazy eye," because of the way that one eye will turn in while the other eye looks out straight. If caught and treated early, this condition is often reversible. Take your baby to a pediatric ophthalmologist for diagnosis and treatment.

Sometimes Babies Have Eyes that Look Crossed...But Aren't

Babies have extra folds in their face around their eyes, and these folds can make your baby's eyes look crossed even when they're really not. There's even a word for this phenomenon. It's called "pseudoesotropia." This condition should go away as your baby's face develops and matures.

In the mean time, if you're worried that your baby's eyes might really be crossed and would like to know the difference, pay attention to the reflections in your baby's pupils. If the eyes are crossed, reflections will appear in different places in each pupil. If the eyes are not crossed, reflections of light will appear in corresponding positions within the pupils. If you have a hard time getting your baby to look at you for long enough to examine the reflections in your baby's eyes, take a picture of your baby's face (with flash) while your baby's eyes are open. Click here for info about this.