reader question – child with strabismus closing one eye in the sunlight

Ingrid wrote me with the following question:

I’m wondering if any parents of children with intermittent exotropia notice that their child constantly closes one eye in sunlight? Of all that we go though with Paris’s eyes, including patching, this for me is the thing that bugs me and bothers me the most. Especially as we live in Australia and it is always sunny!As soon as we walk outdoors she closes her exotropic eye, so she is closing it a large part of the day. I have tried sun glasses but she really doesn’t want to wear them. I am thinking of getting transition lenses? Has anyone got any advice on what to do? Is this something that can be rectified. It is really distressing to see her with one eye closed a good part of the day!

Here’s the thing, Zoe does the same thing, though she has esotropia, not exotropia.  Has anyone else noticed this with their child?  We’ve both asked our POs and not gotten much of an explanation.

7 responses to “reader question – child with strabismus closing one eye in the sunlight

  1. Hm, I had surgery for strabismus (estropia in one eye), and I would close my “bad” eye when it was too bright out as a kid…I don’t do it anymore as an adult, though. The eye I had surgery on is also weaker, which I assumed was the reason, but maybe it was related to strabismus! Weird!


  2. Thank you for that. Glad to know it might be something she might grow out of. It is especially bad in the car and the problem is that transition lenses dont work in the car! I do always make sure she has a wide brimmed hat on. My PO, as good as he is, kind of made very light of it and said “yes it’s just one of the symptoms of intermittent exotropia, make sure she wears a hat” which is all well and good but I am not satisfied with that! Surely there is something more we can do. It is so frustrating for me to see her constantly do this!!


  3. Yes, we have experienced this with our son (now 5) since he was a newborn. There must be something to this link… he has moderate strabismus amongst other things and the glare has always bothered him.


  4. I don’t know. I have 20/20 vision, and I have done the same thing. My eyes are very, very sensitive to light, and I was always squinting, closing one eye, or I would get horrible headaches. I started wearing sunglasses when I got older, and now I know how much I need them to deal with the light.

    My two oldest boys have transition lenses because they do have eye problems and have a similar response to light. They really like them!


  5. Thanks Dawn. Yes, my husband says the same thing… that Paris is also probably just sensitive to the sunlight, regardless of her condition, as he is too. Interesting though that it also does seem to be linked to strabismus, yet the specialists have no explanation for it. It’s just particularly hard when you live in sunny Australia! Yes, I am going to go ahead and get her the transitions I think. Thank you.


  6. My understanding is that it used to be considered a response to stress on the visual systems underlying fusion of the eyes images.
    The idea being that the bright sunlight makes it harder to maintain a single image and so to avoid double vision the person with strabismus closes the weaker eye.

    But studies like this ( would indicate it’s more related to photophobia.

    People with reduced co-operation between the two eyes (as in strabismus) don’t get the same benefit from having two eyes working together and are more likely to manage their photophobia with closing one eye rather than partially closing both eyes.

    You’d need a really elegant experimental set-up to confirm this but for the moment that’s probably the best explanation available.

    Hope that is of interest.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.