Strabismus is a visual problem in which the eyes are not properly aligned and one eye may point in a different direction than the other. One eye may turn inward or turn outward. About 4% of all children in the United States have some form of strabismus. This condition sometimes runs in families, and treatment for strabismus may include eyeglasses or surgery to help realign and straighten the eyes.
Strabismus is best diagnosed during an eye exam. Pediatricians will screen for strabismus during a well-child visit at the office between ages 2 and 4, and if a problem is noted, they will refer that patient to an ophthalmologist. Sometimes a weak or lazy eye is noted in children in the first six months to one year of life and can be treated at that time if appropriate.