Patient Education - Strabismus/squint
Article Index
Patient Education
Refractive errors
Strabismus/squint
Ambylopia
Diabetic Retinopathy
Age-related Macular Degeneration
Retinal Detachment
Allergic conjunctivitis
Trachoma
Pterygium
Glaucoma
All Pages

Strabismus/squint

Squint is misalignment of the eyes such that the right and left eyes are pointed in different directions. Though it is a common condition among younger populations, affecting 2 to 4 percent of children, it may also appear later in life.
patient6
The misalignment may be permanent or it may be temporary, occurring occasionally. The deviation may be in any direction: inward, outward, upward or downward.

Causes

• Weakened muscles or abnormal nerve impulses to the eye muscles
• Heredity
• Blurred or poor vision
• Pathology inside the eye, such as cataract
• Staring into bright light during early childhood is not a cause

Signs and Symptoms

The primary sign of squint is an eye that is not straight. Sometimes, a youngster will squint or close one eye in bright sunlight. Faulty depth perception may be present. Some children turn their faces or tilt their heads in a specific direction in order to use their eyes together.

Treatment

Parents often get the false impression that a child may "outgrow" the problem. If a child's two eyes are pointed in different directions, examination by an ophthalmologist is necessary to determine the cause and to begin treatment.

The goals of treatment are to preserve vision, straighten the eyes and to restore binocular vision. Treatment of squint depends upon the exact cause of the misaligned eyes. It can be directed towards unbalanced muscles or other conditions which are causing the eyes to point in two different directions. After a complete eye examination, including a detailed study of the inner parts of the eye, an ophthalmologist can recommend appropriate optical, medical or surgical therapy.

Non surgical treatment - spectacles

Some squints are caused by refractive errors. In such cases, squint can be corrected by prescribing proper spectacles.

Surgical treatment

patient7

Most patients require surgical correction. Surgery is done under general anesthesia in children and under local anesthesia in cooperating adults. To undergo general anesthesia the child should be free from acute illness.