Accommodative esotropia is a form of strabismus, also called crossed eyes. This form of strabismus is seen in far-sighted children. Here are three things parents need to know about accommodative esotropia.
What are the signs of accommodative esotropia?
If your child has accommodative esotropia, you'll notice that one of their eyes is looking either upwards or inwards when the other eye is not doing the same. If you notice these signs, take your child to an optometrist for an exam.
The optometrist will ask your child to focus on an object in the exam room and will monitor the movement of their eyes. They may be asked to perform this test with one eye covered, and then asked to repeat the test with the other eye covered. This let's the optometrist see how each eye works on its own as well as part of a pair. If the optometrist determines that one eye deviates from the other, the angle of deviation will be measured.
A complete eye examination will also be performed to confirm that accommodative esotropia is the problem. During this examination, the vision in each of your child's eyes will be evaluated and the insides of their eyes will also be examined.
What causes accommodative esotropia?
Accommodative esotropia occurs in children with a high degree of hyperopia. Hyperopia is a refractive error that means that your child can see distant objects clearly, while close objects don't focus; this is also called farsightedness. To try to overcome the hyperopia, the eyes need to try harder to focus than they should, and this makes the eyes cross.
How is accommodative esotropia treated?
This condition is treated with prescription glasses. The prescription glasses will correct the hyperopia, which in turn corrects the abnormal eye movement. Your child may not need to wear their glasses forever. One study found that 60% of children with accommodative esotropia were able to be weaned off of their glasses as they got older. Weaning is done by gradually changing the prescription of the glasses until they are no longer needed; this is possible because children's eyes are still growing.
Refractive surgery like LASIK is another treatment option, though since children's eyes are still growing, it can't be done right away. This surgery can be performed when children are in their mid-to-late teens if they still have hyperopia and don't like wearing their glasses. Studies have shown that when farsightedness is surgically corrected, most patients no longer have accommodative esotropia.
If you think your child has accommodative esotropia, take them to an eye clinic, such as the Village Eye Centre.