The variable or intermittent type of exotropia tends to make itself known between the ages of 2 and 5 years of age
and is the most common type of exotropia.
Here, the eye or eyes turn outward when they are “put under strain”
. This can happen when looking at a distant object or at a near one.
In this condition, the eyes do not work well as a team.
This is clearly evident when the eyes need to look at an object nearby, like the writing on a page.
Instead of the eyes working together, one turns outward. Usually, Orthoptists are of great help in such cases. They assess the child and then teach him/her, through specific eye exercises,
to realign their eyes. This therapy enables the eyes to work as a team.
SOMETIMES, THE APPEARANCE OF EXOTROPIA MAY BE DECEIVING
In some cases of exotropia, there is an underlying issue that makes the eyes appear to turn outwards
, when in fact they are perfectly aligned. An example of this, is a large distance between the two eyes.
This gives the illusion
that the child has an exotropia, when, their eyes actually are straight.
HOW TO NOTICE EXOTROPIA IN A CHILD
The following signs or symptoms occur early in the condition:
- One eye or both eyesturn outwards, especially when the child is looking at an object in the distance or if the child is tired, daydreaming or has a fever
- If you make the child aware that their eyes are turning outwards, they can usually correct this deviation, usually by blinking
- As soon as a child looks at an object that is close to them, after looking at an object in the distance, the turned outward eye/s straighten up
- You may notice the child closing one eye to help them see clearly
- A child may complain of “tired eyes” and of headaches, and may even complain of seeing double
If no medical advice is sought and the exotropia progresses
, the outward deviation of the eye can become more fixed or “constant”
At this point, the child who complained about seeing double, may stop doing so. The brain has become so confused
at receiving messages from two eyes that see different images, that it can “turn off” one of the