Vaccines can do a lot of things.
They can prevent you from getting a life-threatening disease, sometimes even after you have been exposed. And if you do get sick when vaccinated, the vaccine can often help to make sure the disease isn’t as severe as it might have been if you were unvaccinated. They can also keep you from getting sick and exposing others, including those who are at extra risk for severe disease.
Vaccines also get blamed for doing a lot of other things, namely for causing vaccine injuries.
What Causes Strabismus?
Strabismus isn’t a disease. It is simply a term that describes a misalignment of your child’s eyes.
“At birth, an infant’s eyes cannot always focus directly on objects. They may appear to move quite independently at first, sometimes crossing, and sometimes wandering outward. But by the age of three to four months, an infant’s eyes should have the ability to focus on small objects and the eyes should be straight or parallel. A six-month-old infant should be able to focus on both distant and near objects.”Prevent Blindness America on Is Strabismus Present at Birth?
To be more specific, children with strabismus can have:
- esotropia – the eye turns inward
- exotropia – the eye turns outward
- hyertropia – the eye turns upward
- hypotropia – the eye turns downward
And we get especially concerned when strabismus leads to amblyopia – decreased vision in the affected eye.
Some specific things that cause strabismus include:
- third nerve (III) palsy
- fourth nerve (IV) palsy – superior oblique muscle
- sixth nerve (VI) palsy – lateral rectus muscle
- Brown syndrome
- Duane syndrome
Often, we don’t know why kids have strabismus, although it is thought that at least 50% of them are born with it, even if it isn’t recognized until they are older.
“Most strabismus is the result of an abnormality of the neuromuscular (including brain) control of eye movement. Our understanding of these control centers in the brain remains incomplete. Less commonly, a problem with the actual eye muscle may cause strabismus.”AAPOS on What causes strabismus?
Kids with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, hydrocephalus, and brain tumors are thought to be at higher risk for developing strabismus.
Do Vaccines Cause Strabismus?
And because we don’t always know what causes strabismus, that leads some folks to want to blame vaccines.
Interestingly, one study, Prevalence of Amblyopia and Strabismus in White and African-American Children Aged 6 through 71 Months: The Baltimore Pediatric Eye Disease Study, found that strabismus was rare in infants and that while higher in older kids, “there was no clear trend for increasing or decreasing prevalence after age 12 months.”
If strabismus was caused by vaccines, wouldn’t you expect to see more infants with strabismus and a consistent rise in cases as kids continued to get vaccines until they go to kindergarten?
Do any studies support the idea that vaccines do cause strabismus?
There are a few case reports, but it is important to remember that a case report is basically a gloried anecdote. It is not the kind of high quality evidence you really want if you are trying to make a case trying to prove causality.
The biggest evidence against vaccines causing strabismus?
Strabismus isn’t new.
The first cases were reported over 3500 years ago and the first surgical repairs were being done in the early 19th Century.
So why do some folks think that strabismus is a vaccine injury? Mostly it is because some folks think that everything is a vaccine injury.
More on Strabismus
- What is strabismus and how common is it?
- Strabismus Q&A
- Facts About Amblyopia
- What is Brown syndrome?
- Brown Syndrome
- What is Duane Syndrome?
- Duane syndrome
- Congenital | Duane Syndrome
- Strabismus: The First 3500 Years
- Early American Strabismus Surgery: 1840–1845
- Study – Prevalence of Amblyopia and Strabismus in White and African-American Children Aged 6 through 71 Months: The Baltimore Pediatric Eye Disease Study
- Benign Recurrent Sixth (Abducens) Nerve Palsy following Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination
- Book – Moorfields Manual of Ophthalmology 2008, Pages 583-622
- Vaccine Post Updates: the Good, the Bad, and the Crooked?