What Is Pseudostrabismus and How Does It Affect You?

Pseudostrabismus is a condition in which one or both of a child’s eyes appear to be misaligned (crossed), but they are not. This differs from strabismus, which occurs when the eyes are misaligned and point in opposite directions. One eye may look forward while the other turns in, out, up, or down in strabismus. Pseudostrabismus, on the other hand, is characterized by both eyes facing forward.

Pseudostrabismus is a condition that affects babies from birth to around 18 months old. Pseudostrabismus may be outgrown, but strabismus cannot. Pseudostrabismus is usually caused by a baby’s nose having a very wide bridge. On the side of the eye near the nose, small folds of eyelid skin are common. These features may cause a baby’s eyes to appear crossed. Fortunately, these features normally change as a baby develops, and pseudostrabismus disappears.

How to Tell the Difference Between Pseudostrabismus and Strabismus

One of the quickest ways to differentiate pseudostrabismus from strabismus is by looking at a flash photo of your baby. Take a photo of your baby with a flash and carefully examine how the eyes of your baby appear in the photos. The baby’s face and eyes should be directed directly at the camera in the picture. Look at your baby’s eyes to see where the light reflects. Light will reflect in the same position in both eyes if your child has pseudostrabismus. This is also easier to see in the middle of the pupil. However, if your child has strabismus, light can reflect in each eye in a different way.

Pseudostrabismus in an infant. Despite the fact that the eyes seem to be misaligned, light shines in the same spot in both eyes.
Pseudostrabismus

True Strabismus. In both eyes, the light does not reflect in the same position.
Pseudostrabismus

For a brief period of time, a baby’s eyes may look misaligned. To rule out any signs of strabismus, an ophthalmologist may perform a complete eye exam. He or she will examine your child’s vision to see whether it is equal in both eyes or if he or she is farsighted or nearsighted.

When your child grows, diagnosing pseudostrabismus or strabismus becomes simpler, this is because pseudostrabismus improves with age, while strabismus is more likely to worsen.

Allowing for the Development of Good Vision

Pseudostrabismus

It’s understandable for parents to be worried about their child’s crossed eyes. Eyes that are truly misaligned are an issue that must be assessed and handled.

Fortunately, there is no need to treat pseudostrabismus. If your child has strabismus, however, he or she will need to see an ophthalmologist for treatment. Straightening the eyes often allows normal vision to develop.

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