Questions and Answers

Can Your Eyes Get Stuck from Crossing Them?

Crossed Eyes
Photo by [Stuart Miles]

I remember hearing as a kid, “don’t cross your eyes or they’ll get stuck that way.” Another myth created by parents in order to stop their children from doing silly things. But is this really a myth, or is it possible your eyes could get stuck and be permanently crossed?
As a kid, making funny faces with crossed eyes and tongue sticking out is a great time with friends. But anytime a kid hears, “don’t do that or it will get stuck that way”, that’s just an invitation to do it some more! But there really is a condition that involves your eyes being stuck in a crossed position.

Permanently Crossed Eyes Condition

Someone that is afflicted with permanently crossed eyes suffers from a condition known as esotropia. To put it simply, esotropia is actually caused from a lack of muscle coordination in your eyes. More times than not this condition is dominate in only one eye, but it does happen to both on occasion. This can be due to lesions within the cranial nerves.


These crossed eyed conditions are something people are normally born with. It’s not something that can be caused by force or by making yourself cross eyed, simply because of the way the optic nerves and muscles work. When we focus on close up objects, our eyes naturally make a sort of cross eyed motion. But when we cross them on purpose, it’s an extreme exaggeration of that.


But one thing is for certain… Your eyes are not going to stick by crossing them any more than they would from looking in any direction with extreme force or at any unnatural angle. Looking up, down side to side, doesn’t matter, our eyes are made to go in all directions, they will not simply freeze at some point unless there is some sort of special “condition” at play like the esotropia we discussed earlier.


What is Esotropia?

Esotropia is a type of strabismus that causes an unnatural ocular position. Although it may not appear as extreme as when you cross your eyes on purpose, the two are quite similar. Accommodative esotropia is normally a condition seen in farsighted people. The reason for this is simple. Farsighted people are only able to focus clearly on objects that are close up, usually by crossing one of their eyes slightly.


Since crossing one eye becomes habit in order to see more clearly, this type of condition can worsen over time thus ending in crossed eyes. Although an exam followed by prescription glasses can easily correct this condition if treated sooner rather than later.


But let’s keep in mind, this is not something that just happens to someone. The beginning of this condition starts at birth. Caused by a congenital defect found in the lens. And most certainly not caused by making funny faces as a kid.

So we’ve learned that crossed eyes are not caused simply from playing around and making funny faces by crossing your eyes at people. But it is an actual medical condition that is defined at birth. In fact, an article done in 1991, on debunking medical myths, showed that children who have developed the muscular control to cross their eyes are actually doing themselves a favor. By developing the ability to cross their eyes for long periods of time, this can help build the muscles and give them better chances for not developing crossed eyes.
So the old myth that “Crossing your eyes will make them stick that way” is complete false hood, but it sure is fun to see the look on your kids face when you tell them that!
Have you ever been told this or perhaps you use this line on your children? Use the comments to tell us all about it…

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17 thoughts on “Can Your Eyes Get Stuck from Crossing Them?
  1. There are muscles that bring your eyes back to center.
    You have to hold them cross-eyed, if you relax them they go right back to normal. Saying they get stuck that way is just a way for moms to keep their kids from looking stupid in front of people.

    1. Very good point Martin. The eyes natural position would make it quite hard to get your eyes stuck crossed. You simply couldn’t walk around for months keeping them crossed, they would get exhausted!

  2. nice information gathering. really eyes get stuck with crossing them from original position.this is due to low muscular capacity. children’s must careful about this problem they unknowingly affected by this issue.

    1. Yeppers, the lack of muscles working together properly in the eyes is the number one cause for this.

      Thanks for dropping by!

    1. Actually no Hari, it’s not possible for your eyes to get stuck from crossing them. Although there is a condition normally present at birth that can result in crossed eyes. It is called Esotropia and is more common with people who are farsighted. Hope this helps to clear things up for you.

  3. indeed, our eyes are made in such a way they can point to any object. It depends on the proximity of the object what orientation they take. There is nothing such as the sticking the eye in one direction if kept for a long time.

    1. most certainly, the eyes would almost have to short circuit in order to get stuck while crossed. I guess stranger things have happened, but the odds of this are extremely low.

  4. LOL….eyes being short-circuited! As if they are the electronic components. May be true for the robots or aliens either!

  5. when they say it, they are actually right. All the coordination between the mind and the working parts of the body is regulated by the flow of the electrical impulses through the neurotransmitters.

    1. lol, you are so right Amy, it’s always better safe than sorry with things like this!

  6. I’m from Ukraine, but my parents also told me not to cross the eyes, but I did, and still do, actually doing these exercises eye muscles stronger. Thank you! Sorry for grammar mistakes, I use Google translate.

    1. Very interesting Anna, thanks for sharing with us. I can certainly see how that could be good exercise for your eye muscles.

  7. “Farsighted people are only able to focus clearly on objects that are close up, usually by crossing one of their eyes slightly.”
    Isn’t it the exact opposite? Far sighted people are far sighted because well, they can only focus on things far away (hence being called far sighted)?

    It is short sighted people (like myself) that can only focus on objects that are close. Thus short sighted.

    Why do so many people get this wrong.

  8. My mother told me this when I was very young, and I have been very careful to not cross my eyes ever since then. I’m now fifteen and very aggravated to find this was untrue all my life. Thanks, for letting me know this was a myth all along.

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