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Cross Your T’s, Not Your Eyes!

POSTED ON August 16, 2012

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Growing up, I don’t know how many times my mother told me not to cross my eyes. “They’ll stick that way!” Was she right or was she just trying to avoid the unpleasant sight of looking at me with crossed eyes? I did some research to try and find out what happens. Here is what I found: Your eyes are controlled by six muscles. They control your eye movement, whether you move your eyes up, down, or side ...

Growing up, I don’t know how many times my mother told me not to cross my eyes. “They’ll stick that way!” Was she right or was she just trying to avoid the unpleasant sight of looking at me with crossed eyes? I did some research to try and find out what happens. Here is what I found:

Your eyes are controlled by six muscles. They control your eye movement, whether you move your eyes up, down, or side to side. When you cross your eyes, the muscles point your eyes inward. This will happen naturally if you try to look at the tip of your nose with both eyes open. Doing this for extended periods of time may cause muscle strain; just like if you were to hold your legs in a squat position for an extended period of time. So was my mother just trying to get me to stop? Yep, there is no medical evidence to suggest that your eyes will stay crossed forever.

However, there is a condition called strabismus that indicates permanently crossed eyes.  Strabismus occurs when there are neurological or anatomical problem that conflict with the function of the 6 muscles that control your eyes. Problems may exist in the muscles themselves, or it might be a problem in the vision center of the brain. This is usually a hereditary condition.

Sometimes, a parent might notice a child crossing his eyes in order to accommodate for uncorrected farsightedness. This is called accommodative estropia; it is easily fixed with glasses or contacts. If you notice your young child showing these symptoms, be sure to see Dr Tavel or one of his board certified associates.

All in all, I found out great news: your eyes cannot get stuck crossed just from crossing them for extended periods of time! Cross away, kids. Cross away!

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