Esotropia is an inward turning of one or both eyes. Congenital esotropia begins at birth or during the first year of life. Congenital esotropia is also called infantile esotropia.
The cause of infantile esotropia is unknown. We know there is an inability to use the two eyes together. Hypotheses include both sensory and/or motor dysfunction.
There is an increased risk for the development of amblyopia (lazy eye). It occurs because the brain ignores input from the squinting eye.
Cross fixation is the use of the right eye to view the left visual field and the use of the left eye to view the right visual field. This behavior is very common in children with infantile esotropia. Cross fixation often causes the appearance of not looking directly at a target and parents often wonder if vision is reduced.
Children with infantile esotropia are usually not more nearsighted or farsighted than those without crossing. However, if farsighted, spectacles may be prescribed.
Usually, infantile esotropia is corrected by squint surgery. In a squint surgery, the position of some of the horizontal muscles of the eye is changed. The surgery is usually done around 1 year of age under General Anesthesia. The eyes remain red for about a couple of weeks. The advantage of performing early surgery is that the child may recover some or most of his / her binocular vision.