reader question: farsighted, but eyes turning out

This question came in from Jacqui, who is hoping someone else may have experience with this.  -Ann Z

Our daughter Coco is longsighted with  both eyes +4.  Six months ago our specialist advised us that she did not require glasses because she was coping well and would probably require them later in life for reading and studying. We returned to him after a few months however as we noticed that one eye occasionaly turns out slightly when she is tired or focusing on us when we are close to her.

Anyway the woman who did some testing before we saw the specialist himself implied to us that putting her in glasses may cause the eye to turn in and she was concerned about this.

We went to see the specialist straight after and he made the recommendation that she does wear glasses in an attempt to straighten the eyes. He did say it was unsual that her eye turns out given that she is long sighted.

But now we wonder if the occasional eye turning out is even related to the long sightedness as our older daughter with normal vision had a similar eye that has strengthened as she has got older. I guess we are worried that we have put her into glasses unnecessarily and will that be causing worse problems for her now. i.e an eye turning inwards that can’t be straightened. She copes so well without glasses, staff at her preschool are not at all concerned and we see no evidence of difficulty.   She finds Wally quickly!

2 responses to “reader question: farsighted, but eyes turning out

  1. we are currently sifting through the net looking for advice and support on our 4 and a half yr old son. this story from jacqui caught my attention!

    we have recently been told our son is long sighted and will need to wear glasses as one of his eyes is staring to turn inwards. his prescription is +2 in one eye and +3 in the other….this means nothing to me i dont know if this is weak or strong??

    we are unsure about putting him in glasses, nobody in our family has ever had to wear them, and his dad has one eye that looks as if it is turning inwards so i’m starting to think it could be that he just looks the same. i do not want to rush into glasses, he is a shy sensitive boy and anything that makes him stand out when he starts school frightens me. however…obviously if its essential we will not hesitate.
    i am trying to find someone who may be able to suggest some child friendly eye exercises which may stregthen the weaker eye, possibly by patching the strong one and working on the weaker one. does anyone have any knowledge or experience of this?

    i have heard so many stories of kids being ruched into glasses when they could not need them at all. i would do anthing to mend this problem natrually through exercise rather than accommodate for it through glasses.

    in our opinion his eyesight at the moment is excellent and he also finds wally extremely quickly!!


    • Hi Jules, +2 and +3 are low to moderate farsighted prescriptions – you can read more about those prescriptions here: Farsighted prescriptions are tricky, because your child can still focus when farsighted, but it often leads to eyestrain and eyes turning in (what you’re seeing with your son).

      There’s debate about when to put your child in glasses, but two things about your son make me think that glasses are a good idea. Farsightedness often leads to children crossing their eyes – my daughter Zoe did this – that can lead to vision loss in one eye as the brain ignores the input from one of the eyes (amblyopia) in order to not see double. Wearing glasses often straightens the eyes. The second thing is that the prescriptions for the two eyes are different, again, this can lead to vision loss because the brain favors the eye with the better vision and ignores input from the other eye. Again, correcting the vision in both eyes with glasses can mitigate that.

      As for patching and eye exercises. Patching is recommended for amblyopia, it’s not clear whether or not your son has amblyopia. Just having two different prescriptions doesn’t necessarily indicate amblyopia. If your son was seeing better with one eye as opposed to the other *with* glasses, then that would indicate amblyopia, but the two different prescriptions on their own do not necessarily mean that patching is indicated. Patching helps the brain to begin to recognize the input from an eye that it had previously turned off, but it does not really change the prescription.

      Some good news – many children with low to moderate farsighted prescriptions will outgrow the need for glasses later on. It is possible that your son may need glasses now, but will not need them later on. Also, more and more kids are wearing glasses, and anecdotally, at least, I’ve heard that there’s less teasing for glasses than there used to be.

      Good luck to you and your son and keep us updated on how things go!


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