InfantSEE: detecting strabismus in infants

Photo of baby's upper face and eyes“Can a child be too young to evaluate for strabismus or other eye problems?” This is a question I recently received from a person with strabismus.

If you or a family member have strabismus, it is even more important that you provide your child with an eye exam by a qualified examiner as soon as possible. Strabismus tends to run in families.

I’m excited to share that the American Optometric Association launched a new program last summer called InfantSEE. They are encouraging parents to “include a trip to the optometrist in the list of well-baby check-ups.” Recommendations from AOA are that babies should receive their first eye exam between 6 and 12 months of age.

The Parent’s Center of the AOA InfantSEE website offers ways to develop healthy vision in infants, a free InfantSEE newsletter, Q&A, and much more. Be sure to check it out!

WebMD has provided an interesting video of an InfantSEE eye exam in progress. “Not all visual abnormalities in young children are cause for concern,” according the the video. But strabismus and amblyopia are especially singled out as concerns that need to be monitored and treated if they do not clear up on their own.

To find an InfantSEE doctor in your area, click here.

Operation Bright Start, with a pilot program which began in 1999, was a forerunner to the new InfantSee program. The Operation Bright Start link was apparently abandoned and picked up by a different group. But you can read about the early beginnings of this program in Review of Optometry, November 2000.

The InfantSEE exam is free for babies during their first 12 months. If your child is older than 12 months and has never had an eye exam, the best place to start would probably be with a Behavioral or Developmental Optometrist who participates in the InfantSEE program. These doctors are specially trained in detecting and treating strabismus and other eye problems in infants and children as well as adults.

If you know of a similar resource for those outside America, please post it in the comments section here or email me using the link at the bottom of this page.

Photo credit: Ivan Philipov

2 thoughts on “InfantSEE: detecting strabismus in infants”

  1. Hi,

    I m 34 with stabismus since childhood, so far 3 surgeries have been done and now I m ok,I still have a tiny bit of hidden strabismus , but it has not affected my life badly. ( it was worse before the surgery )
    Anyways, I m really happy I found this website ,because all I m concern about is the fct that strabismus is genetic. I have a daughter who is 8 and seems to have good eyes except astigmatism, I m afraid my second child will get it from me.
    Can I ask the members who have kids if their kids have it or not, I know noone can tell by sure if we pass it to our kids or not, but I m just doing my own study to see what is the chance of it.

    Members reply will help me a lot.

  2. Hello,
    Glad to see that you are doing better after your last surgery. Strabismus could be a tough thing to handle for some. I had strabismus when I was a child and with patching (and wearing plus lenses for years) I was able to straighten my eyes and benefit from binocularity.

    to answer your question. Strabismus is genetic. I have read in several places that its rate of pacing it to your offsprings is around 40%. So please get your next childs eyes examined by a qualified optometrist as soon as possible and as often as possible. Early intervention is the BEST thing for children with strabismus.

    Hope that helps. And please try searching with keywords such as “Strabismus genetic” to find better answers to this question.

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