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My child gone cross eyed from watching iPad

(53 Posts)
Beemommy Sun 07-Jan-18 00:22:19

My cute little boy who just has turned 2 years old two weeks ago has gone cross eyed literally overnight... Now every time I look at his pretty little face and see his eyes crossing I feel extremely guilty and that I failed as a parent...Everytime I look at him I want to cry.. and we didn't even get his glasses yet...
We took him to the doctor today and he said that he has no major vision issues and the reason for the squint is unknown but when I asked if it maybe from iPad he said that definitely yes... he prescribed the patch and the glasses and said to give it a try for 2 months and if he doesn't improve he will need surgery.
Is there any chance for improvement? Anything else that can be done?
Any support is appreciated as I'm so devastated...

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 00:38:52

Hi, Just wanted to reassure you that you have done nothing wrong.
There is nothing you could have done to prevent this and it certainly hasn't been caused by the iPad.
He will have always had this underlying tendency to squint and around 2 years is the most common age for children to present with a squint. This is the time they start to want to focus on things more - books/ipads/the world in general. If there is more longsightedness than normal they have to work harder to focus and this effort pulls the eyes inward. The glasses will have been prescribed to relax the focusing.
The amount of longsight and therefore the glasses strength is largely down to the physical size of the eyeball. You can't change his eyeball size anymore than you can change the size of his feet. Like I said this is nothing you have done.
Patching is done if one eye is seeing better than the other, the aim being to improve vision in the weaker eye. Patching will not help the squint or change the need for glasses.
You have done exactly the right thing by taking him to have his eyes checked and getting treatment.

TheFSMisreal Sun 07-Jan-18 00:41:52

That's not a thing ...

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 00:42:59

Adding - if the glasses improve the squint to a cosmetically good level then surgery shouldn't be needed.
Surgery will only be considered if there is a cosmetically poor squint even with glasses and the decision will always be yours to make.
I would suggest writing a list of questions and asking your Orthoptist at your next appointment.

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 00:44:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MotherofaSurvivor Sun 07-Jan-18 00:46:10

Why would they lie to the OP though? 'That's not a thing' either

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 00:48:51

For some reason the link I posted isn't working but look at as it is a really good website.

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 00:49:56

What's not a thing??

Feelings Sun 07-Jan-18 00:52:28

It sounds like your son has a congenital squint not something that you get from looking at an iPad too long, I seriously doubt that even exists.

When you say doctor do you mean an ophthalmologist? A doctor cannot check a child's eyes and prescribe patches and glasses, it needs to be done by somebody specially trained.

mirandasings Sun 07-Jan-18 00:59:01

Why so quick to suggest surgery?? After only two month is ridiculous. My child has been wearing glasses for two years with patches for nearly a year. Only now has there even been mention of surgery and that’s just a possibility.

Maybe you should get a second opinion.

And I also agree it’s not a thing. You don’t go “crossed eyed” over night from watching an iPad!

TheFSMisreal Sun 07-Jan-18 00:59:37

IPads causing squints. Its not a thing. If you have a squint and concentrate on something (ie a tablet) it can present, ie turn in. But it doesn't cause it. Also you don't take a 2 year old to a doctor to test their eyes, you take them to the hospital. And they won't do surgery for atleast a year and only if it effects their sight.

mirandasings Sun 07-Jan-18 00:59:51

What country are you in OP?

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 01:03:01

Terms that may be useful to know:

Strabismus - proper name for squint
Amblyopia - reduced vision and the reason for a patch
Hypermetropia - longsightedness
Convergent squint/ Esotropia - an eye that turns inward
Fully accommodative Esotropia - glasses completely straighten the eye (it will still turn when glasses taken off)
Partially accommodative Esotropia - glasses improve the squint but do not fully straighten it.
Non- accommodative Esotropia - glasses do not help the appearance/are not needed.

The diagnosis between the different types can only be made once he is reviewed and tested with the glasses on.

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 01:13:03

TheFSMisreal - you're right looking at an iPad does not cause a squint.

Surgery falls into 2 categories.
Functional - if having surgery will help the eyes work together as a pair/ improve 3d vision.
Cosmetic - if having surgery will improve the appearance of the squint but not help the eyes work together better.

Most squint surgery is cosmetic.
Whereas patching needs to be done before 7/8 years in most cases while the visual system can still be influenced,
surgery has no cut off age.
Surgery does not improve vision or change the amount of longsight present.

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 01:18:51

In the hospital setting in England we have a team consisting of:

Ophthalmologist - a doctor who has specialised in eyes. They check the health of the eye and do surgery if needed. (We do just call them the doctor.)

Optician - they check the need for glasses and issue a prescription.

Orthoptist - they monitor the squint and vision, advise on glasses wear, patching and surgery.

Beemommy Sun 07-Jan-18 01:36:01

Thanks everyone...
@miranda I am in Dubai... so probably they have different timelines here than in UK??
@ boellesmum I have seen both orthopist who confirmed squint in both eyes and ophthalmologist who specializes in stabism in children... why would he be saying it is from iPad if that's not the case?? He said that 80% of the causes for squint are unknown though...
DS doesn't have any longsightedness just slight and the doctor said it's very normal for his age and can't be the cause of the squint
So the surgery would be just a cosmetic one...
I've been reading though that glasses can worsen the squint when you take them off as the child will try to focus more and replicate vision he had with the glasses how they supposed to improve the squint?? I'm confused...

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 08:27:02

Hi, I am wondering if the doctor meant using the iPad has caused the squint to appear rather than caused it. It would have happened anyway though and was just as likely to happen when looking at a book.
It is normal for children to be longsighted. Longsighted eyes are small eyes - children are small so they have small eyes. As the eyes grow longsight tends to reduce and if the eyes continue to grow they become short sighted as short sighted eyes are big eyes. A normal amount of longsight for a child is anything up to around +2.00 and this would not be ordered unless there is a squint and they want to see if it helps. They are ordered to help the squint rather than for vision.
There is a connection between how much we focus and how much the eyes pull in. When you look in the distance your eyes are straight and lens relaxed. When you look at near your lens accommodates and your eyes pull in. There is a ratio between the two. If you are longsighted you have to accommodate more so the eyes pull in more and if this is too great to control the eye will squint. Relaxing the accommodation with glasses relaxes out the squint - but weak glasses may not help much which is why surgery was mentioned.
Sometimes children will squint more when they take glasses off than before they had them. This usually happens with larger amounts of longsight. You have shown them how clear the world can be with glasses so they subconsciously try to get that back without them by accommodating more and therefore pulling the eye in more. This is normal and nothing to worry about. The important thing is what the eye position is like with the glasses.
If glasses don't help the cosmesis and the cosmesis is poor then surgery will be offered at some point - there is no cut off age for this and the ball is in your court. The only time it needs to be done early is in functional cases rather than cosmetic.
If glasses don't help the squint it generally will either be a congenital non accomodative Esotropia (most likely)or a convergence excess Esotropia.Your Orthoptist will explain this to you and go through a treatment plan.
I hope that helps?

UnitedKungdom Sun 07-Jan-18 08:31:49

iPad won't cause squint! But turning 2 will! That's when they usually start to present.

PPs have given good advice and info.

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 08:31:55

Can I just emphasise again please do not feel guilty and you have not failed. You are doing a great job.
The parents who fail are the ones who can't be bothered to seek help, who don't turn up for appointments when a problem has been diagnosed and who don't bother with the patching so the vision doesn't improve.
Believe me there are a lot if them!

moita Sun 07-Jan-18 10:18:10

If Ipads caused squints, most adults would be walking around with a squint! Please don't blame yourself

Beemommy Sun 07-Jan-18 11:53:51

@boellesmum thanks for the support and seem to be a real specialist in the field.
Just one more question- so if you say the eyes may cross more without glasses then he will have to always wear them?? And the squint will only be fixed (if ever fixed) when the glasses are on?
The doctor mentioned as well that if the squint is not fixed on time this may cause the lazy eye to stop working at all ...that's why the surgery is needed soon if he doesn't improve with the glasses.

Beemommy Sun 07-Jan-18 11:56:33

@moita welll...he explained that as our vision is already developed but for the little ones is still in the process that's why they are more susceptible ...

mirandasings Sun 07-Jan-18 12:04:19

My child’s squint became apparent at 18 months too so it probably just timing. Also our doctor said surgery is a cosmetic thing and they wont do surgery unless the vision improves.

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 12:19:40

I think as it would appear from what you have said that the amount of longsight is small I would be surprised if he squints significantly more without the glasses. But yes, in a child with more longsight the glasses would be long-term and they would squint more when they took them off. This would be the case in fully or partially accommodative squint.
It does surprise parents of children with fully accommodative squint that they can't have surgery to straighten the eye without the glasses. This is because glasses are needed for the eyesight as well as the squint and so would still be needed post op. The glasses move the eye by 'x' degrees from turning to straight. If the eye was made straight without the glasses the glasses would then still move the eye by 'x' degrees but now it would turn out with the glasses on. This would be cosmetically worse hence no surgery.
In your little ones case it may be that the glasses are only a trial to see if they help the squint and if they don't, and are not needed for vision they may not be needed post op. This is obviously hypothetical as I don't know his case and haven't examined him but if you ask your Orthoptist they will explain all this in relation to your son.
If your Ophthalmologist is talking about early surgery they may be considering that your son's is a functional case and has the potential to regain 3D vision if his eyes were straightened. Again I would definitely ask your Orthoptist if this is the case - it may well be if the squint suddenly appeared and they feel he had binocular function before it occurred.
The majority of squint operations are cosmetic and the aim is not to straighten the eye but leave it turned in slightly. This guards against drifting out over time as the eye muscles naturally weaken.

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 12:28:03

@mirandasings - if surgery is purely for cosmetic reasons then it makes sense to treat the amblyopia (reduced vision) with patching first. This is for 2 reasons, firstly improving vision is time sensitive and for most children with a squint patching only only works during what is called the critical period when the visual cells are still developing and can be influenced which ends at around 7/8 years. Cosmetic squint surgery has no cut off age. Secondly there is more incentive for the brain to keep an eye where it is surgically put if the vision is better. Eyes with very weak vision do unfortunately tend to wander again post op.

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 12:38:43

With regards to the lazy eye stopping working -
You can think of your vision as being in 3 sections. The bit to the left that only the left eye sees, the bit to the right that only the right eye sees and the bit in the middle that both eyes see.
If an adult suddenly develops a squint (due to trauma or general health issue) they get double vision because they see an image from each eye in the middle part of the vision.
Children very rarely get double vision. This is because the visual system is still plastic - the brain quite quickly switches off/suppresses one of the 2 images. This means no double vision but also no 3D vision as the eyes then are not working together in the middle bit.
This would be a reason for early surgery - to try and stop the brain suppressing the second image and losing the 3D vision. This is different to vision itself - the eye would not be unable to see.
I hope that makes sense!

Rodders92 Sun 07-Jan-18 13:05:16

Hi Op, I’m another orthoptist ,you have had some very good advice already from boellesmum. Convergent squints in children most often start between 2 and 3 year’s of age. Most young children are long sighted to some degree and children with a moderate to high amount of long sight are more likely to develop a convergent squint. We don’t know what triggers squints in some children but not others but having a family history of squint does increase the risk . Children who are significantly premature also have a greater chance of developing a squint. Using the ipad does not cause a squint but you are likely to see it more when your son is focusing on detailed things. Some squints have a more gradual onset and are perhaps initially seen intermittently when a child is tired, sometimes they can appear very suddenly. Be reassured that nothing you have done has caused this

Beemommy Sun 07-Jan-18 13:28:58

@boellesmum the doctor said his vision is fine , it is only +1.5 which is normal for his age ...does that mean that he won't be needing glasses post surgery?
What are the chances his squint will improve with the glasses and patch? Why the doctor is so certain about needing the surgery?

Beemommy Sun 07-Jan-18 13:40:13

@Rodders thanks! His father has astigmatism and an insignificant squint because of that..I don't know if that contributes to The problem?

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 13:44:54

Yep, +1.50 is within normal limits so would not have been ordered for vision.
If his eyes are straight post op then glasses would not be needed.
If there is a small squint post op and the glasses don't straighten it they won't be needed.
However, if there is still a small squint post op and the glasses just help that little bit to keep it straight then they will continue with them.
It really depends on the results of surgery but in most cases this level of prescription would be abandoned post op.

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 13:48:57

I think the doctor is certain about surgery either because he is viewing this as potentially functional and/or it is a large squint that he feels the small prescription won't correct. Squints, unfortunately, don't go away by themselves.
The timing of surgery will largely depend on if they are viewing the result as functional or cosmetic and only your Orthoptist will be able to tell you this.
When is your follow up appointment?

Doublevodka Sun 07-Jan-18 13:54:47

I have never heard such utter rubbish as an iPad causing a squint. Do not listen to those doctors. My daughter developed a squint at 16 months. It's usually noticed by parents around this age as children start to focus properly then. She is now a teenager and has always worn glasses and now also contact lenses. The only time you can notice her squint is when she is not wearing her contacts or glasses. Surgery is not always appropriate depending on the type of squint.

Rodders92 Sun 07-Jan-18 13:56:12

Hi op, if he is only mildly long sighted at +1.5 that is a normal amount of longsight for a child his age. It may well be that the glasses may not change his squint much and that is what the ophthalmologist is assuming. However some children with a squint will show a significant improvement even with a low prescription. That is why the glasses are being tried to see how his squint responds. Before considering surgery it is important that they trial his full prescription for longsight , have they told you if this is his full prescription or have thy initially given a partial prescription

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 14:03:00

Also just to emphasise that patching does not improve a squint. Patching is purely for vision. The patch is worn on the better seeing eye so that the squinting eye has to look straight for that period of time and gets extra stimulation to help improve the vision. As soon as the patch is removed the eye will turn in again.

Beemommy Sun 07-Jan-18 17:38:09

@boellesmum- so if he has no vision problem(within normal), then why we are asked to do the patching?

Beemommy Sun 07-Jan-18 17:38:43

Sorry for too many questions... I am just really new to all this

Rodders92 Sun 07-Jan-18 18:02:10

Op if the squint is always in the same eye rather than alternating from one eye to the other, the eye that is squinting can become amblyopic( lazy eye) the patch is to improve the vision in that eye. If you have been told the eyes are normal that means they haven’t found any defect in the structure of the eye it does not mean that the eye is seeing normally if the brain is suppressing the eye and not using it. Keep asking questions for anything you don’t understand

Beemommy Sun 07-Jan-18 18:30:35

Thank you @Rodders
The squint is in both eyes but one is more than the other. My concern is if we will be patching the 'better' eye won't it become weak too?

MiaowTheCat Sun 07-Jan-18 18:45:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rodders92 Sun 07-Jan-18 18:50:20

Beemommy Ideally we want both eyes to be used equally. As he wears the patch you should see the squint swapping from one eye to the other more. If you start to notice the squint mostly in what was the better eye contact the orthoptist for advice about adjusting the patching, it is possible to overdo patching but the orthoptist should monitor him closely to help avoid this

rosettesforjill Sun 07-Jan-18 18:59:43

I haven't read all answers but to reassure you, I had a squint surgically corrected as a young child (must have been 3-ish - it's one of my first memories) and had never been anywhere near an iPad, it being about 30 years ago! You'd never tell now and my vision is fine nowadays - never needed glasses or had any other issues.

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 20:05:27

@MiaowTheCat - your holiday analogy is perfect. I tell my little patients to let their good eye have a lie in as the other eye/Mr lazy bones has been letting it do all the hard work. They put the duvet (patch) over the good eye to let it have a snooze.

booellesmum Sun 07-Jan-18 20:08:35

@Rodders92 - should have said earlier hello from a fellow Orthoptist. That's 3 of us on mumsnet now that I know of - us and corneliussnitch.

SherlocksDeerstalker Sun 07-Jan-18 20:18:39

Hi OP - I’ve no advice on the medical front (although my DD had a very slight strabismus that appeared age 2 and seemed to go on its own, she’s 7 now...) but I did notice you said you were in Dubai. I’m sure this goes without saying, but please make sure you get second and third opinions. As all hospitals there are private, there is a lot of unnecessary interventions that occur simply because the medical insurance is willing to pay, and the hospitals and doctors make big money from this. I’m not saying this is the case here, but I lived in the Middle East for 15 years and my friends and I have all experiences this to some degree, with one Dubai doctor even wanting to break and reset my friends 6-year olds broken arm, while her second and third opinions said forget it, it will heal itself.

I hope you get everything sorted, and do let me know if you would like any recommendations for anyone to see - are you at moorfields?

Beemommy Mon 08-Jan-18 11:23:25

Thanks for the great support ladies..
One last question- please do not laugh blush - can I let him play iPad again? As it has been banned for the last week..

Littlechocola Mon 08-Jan-18 11:29:44

Ds had a squint and loved his pirate patch. We all wore them for our bed time story, even teddy.

For him the patch was all he needed.

Beemommy Mon 08-Jan-18 11:31:35

@Sherlocks I know exactly what you are talking about! However I have experienced the same if not bigger commercialism in private hospitals in London too.. it's just how it works as long as you are paying.
But I will definitely be getting a second opinion.

MiaowTheCat Mon 08-Jan-18 13:25:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

booellesmum Mon 08-Jan-18 17:05:47

Yep it is fine for him to use the iPad.
We advise kids to use the iPad while patching as vision improves more quickly when the patch is worn while doing near tasks and iPad is ideal.
It is best to only do around 20 minutes at a time though on any computer device and then have a 5 min break just to change focus/help prevent headaches etc before going back to it, and obviously everything in moderation!

FartnissEverbeans Mon 08-Jan-18 19:03:24

@miranda I am in Dubai... so probably they have different timelines here than in UK??*

I swear as soon as I read the dr's response I thought to myself 'I wonder if this person is in the Middle East...?'

There are some dodgy drs out here (my British dr described it as being like the Wild West) so take things with a pinch of salt, do your research and get a second opinion. Some drs here haven't qualified in their home countries, or have been struck off, or just aren't very good. I once had a dr who had never heard of doxycycline - she then tried to give me the wrong vaccination!

Beemommy Fri 12-Jan-18 00:11:42

@ orthoptist ladies who helped me on this thread... I have couple of more questions if you don't mind blush
1-DS has weared the patch today for the longest time since we have started patching (about 2.5 hours) and I have noticed that after that the 'bad eye' was turning quite a it because it got tired? Is it normal? Shall I better let him wear it for shorter periods?
2- he has just started wearing glasses and obviously we have difficulty keeping them on so they are basically on and off the whole day... is it possible that he has difficulty focusing and switching from on to off glasses since it's all new for him?

Rodders92 Fri 12-Jan-18 10:15:47

Hi op, you are likely to see the squint for a while after the patch comes off, squints will often get bigger the more the eyes are what we call dissociated (that just means when one eye is covered) as the vision improves in the weaker eye you might start to notice the squint appearing in the previously stronger eye, but you do not want the squint to permanently change to the other eye as this eye could then become lazy. With the glasses children who are long sighted need to do extra focussing (accommodation) to see clearly before they have their glasses so once they have glasses their eyes need to stop the extra focussing to allow them to see clearly with the glasses on. As they are used to doing the extra focussing sometimes they don’t initially feel any benefit from their glasses as they continue to over focus and their glasses actually make their vision blurred initially. If he is taking his glasses off a lot you could try wearing them for all close activities at first eg ipad, mealtimes , reading and build up to full time wear. ( to my fellow orthoptist hello it’s Cornelius with a name change)

Tillypolly Sat 10-Feb-18 00:45:05

I read your message and looks like you are a specialist. Please if you could give me some advice?!
My 3 and 3 mths daughter,diagnosed refractive -accommodative-estropia( inwards) last week with glasses now +4 both eyes
My questions
1, as it’s only 2nd day on her glasses she still turns in sometimes not always , is this normal ?
2,will her squint be fixed ? So doesn’t her longsightedness. Lots of people saying if they start to have glasses at a very early age, they will have it for lifetime as they will never out grow it . Is this true ? ( her daughter saids she will need until age of 8 and see if she needs it for school afterwards )
My concern is , even if she is not turnin but eye will change shape if she wears glasses from now till 8 .
Any chance her squint will fixed within a year and doesn’t need glasses , leave the longsightedness to improve by itself .
Sorry not sure if my question make any sense to you .
Simply to say is I know she has to has glasses now . Any chance she will get ride of it earlier than 8 year old and doesn’t has squint again .
Thank you very much !

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