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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 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

The brain learns to "ignore" the feed in from one eye somewhat so the vision starts to go and it gets used to just relying on the feed from the good eye. If you patch the good eye the brain HAS to listen to what the weak eye is saying and it can get the vision back in it.

DD2 was patched for pushing 8 months and is now at the phase where they're monitoring it to check it doesn't regress (been for two checkups and so far we're looking OKish depending on DD2's level of cooperation as she tends to absolutely outwit the student orthoptists!) Once that bit's stable (they told me 6 months is about the period they worry about vision going backwards again) they'll look at surgery for her squint - we're due a long appointment where they'll start to consider all of that next time apparently.

I explained it to DD2 that one of her eyes was being a bit lazy and letting the other eye do all the work so she needed to put a patch on to give the eye doing all the work a bit of a holiday every morning and make the lazy eye stop being lazy and do some work itself. Not a 100% technically correct explanation but good enough for a 4 year old who thought it was hilarious and would come up with the most wonderfully bonkers ideas of what the poor overworked good eye had done on its holiday that morning!

One tip we found for when it was hot weather (I know you're not in UK) - stick the patch onto the palm of your hand first just to take the strongest bit of the adhesive off... we had a few incidents where the combination of sweaty child, suncream and adhesive from even the less allergic type patches (we'd been given those as I've got an allergy to elastoplast adhesive so they assumed DD2 might have) made her get a rash around where the patch had stuck but just taking that initial extra stickiness off worked to stop that a lot. We also paid to buy the patches with nice designs just because DD2 liked wearing them more - and if you're going to have something stuck to your face for 3 hours a day you may as well have the cool pattern with dinosaurs or pirates on!

Oh and don't go googling squint surgery - I really really really regret that one! Dithered for a while about if we were going to push to try to get it done on DD2 after I'd made the mistake of googling it - but as she's got that bit older and her facial features have changed, the squint's looking more and more visible and I think that, considering she's got other issues like problems with speech and dyspraxia, I don't want her to have to put up with the social handicap that it carries with it if it's at all avoidable.

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

I was told by the hospital that if it got her tolerating her eye patch - let her play away on the tablet but to be honest she was fab wearing it.

Even better than the teddy wearing one - she did the local carnival dressed as one of the green three eyed aliens from Toy Story and insisted her three eye alien headdress had to have an eye patch on to match hers - so she was the only two-eyed three-eyed little green alien on the float!

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

Hi,
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

*ryone...
@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!

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