Skip to main content
  • Can strabismus can lead to learning issues and autism?

    My 8-month-old was born with left torticollis.  Recently I’ve noticed her eyes alternately deviate outward upon waking. Is it common that this can lead to learning issues and autism?


    Torticollis—a stiff neck that makes turning your head painful—can be caused by musculoskeletal or ocular motor issues. It is important to have your child's neck and visual system evaluated. Physical therapy is often used for musculoskeletal issue in the neck. Strabismus or eye misalignment (most often when an eye(s) is misaligned vertically, or up or down) can cause torticollis. Exotropia—or when the eyes wander outward—is not a common cause, especially if intermittent. Children with nystagmus or uncontrolled eye movement might also position their heads a certain way that might appear as a torticollis. It’s important that your child see a pediatric ophthalmologist for an eye exam.

    As far as learning issues and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), those are not likely associated with torticollis. While the prevalence of strabismus may be higher in those with ASD, it is relatively common among the general population and does not cause ASD or lead to learning issues. Strabismus is not a barrier to normal educational outcomes.