All Woman

The cross-eye

Baby Whirl

BY NADINE WILSON All Woman writer

Monday, January 31, 2011    

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CROSS-EYE, or strabismus, is a common problem in Jamaica which has resulted in a lot of teasing for both adults and children alike.

"Cross means forming an X which means the right eye looks more to the left and the left eye is looking over to the right," explained ophthalmologist at the Eye Care Centre Dr Albert Lue.

Despite the many myths surrounding the causes of cross-eye in Jamaican folklore, the ophthalmologist points out that the condition is oftentimes genetic.

"Therefore when we see a baby with cross-eye, we would ask if there is anyone else, any other child, whether from the parents' side or whether there is another child from an aunt or uncle [with the same problem]," said Dr Lue.

The doctor also admitted, and debunked, the myths that cross-eye is caused from dropping a baby or allowing him/her to look sideways after birth.

Apart from being genetic, cross-eye can be caused by having a problem in one eye only, for example a cataract. Because there are different causes of cross-eyes, it means that there are different treatments.

"There is a type of cross-eye that children can outgrow, but most times they need surgery and usually it is done within the first year of life," the doctor explained.

"You have quite a few months to make a decision. If you wait too long, one of the eyes may become lazy. Once you straighten the eyes properly, then the eyes could develop normally and the child will develop normally," he added.

Not every cross-eye has to be corrected through surgery though, as some can be treated by wearing lenses until the child grows out the problem. However, in the majority of cases, doing surgery would be the most effective way to correct the problem since it leads to the straightening of the eye muscle.

Unfortunately, many persons are afraid of undergoing surgery, which has resulted in them taking the problem into adulthood.

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