Are you worried seeing that your child’s eyes are not aligned properly? You must have seen this trend running in your family too. This condition in which eyes do not align properly is called as squint or strabismus. One eye turns inwards, downwards or outwards, while the other focuses at one spot which can happen all time or in time intervals. Many people think that squint is a permanent condition and cannot be corrected; however fact is that eyes can be straightened at any age and it should be strongly considered as a treatment option to improve quality of life. It is observed that around 5% to 8% children are affected by squint or squint related condition all around the world. In adults, it is estimated that every 4 in 100 adults suffer from squint.
- Congenital – baby can be born with squint
- Hereditary – there is genetic condition of being squint running in the family
- Nerve damage – in some cases difficult delivery of a baby or illness damaging a nerve can lead to squint
- Long sightedness – it can sometimes lead to a squint as one tries to be over focused in order to see things clearly
- Rare causes of squint include infections like cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, measles
Symptoms in children:
- Children with squint sometimes close one eye in bright sunlight
- Double vision or confusion
- One or both eyes point to different directions
- Some children turn or tilt their face in specific direction in order to use both eyes together
Symptoms in adults:
- Blurred or overlapped images
- Difficulty in reading
- Double vision
- Fatigue in eyes
- Loss of depth perception
- Pulling sensation around eyes
It is important to diagnose squint and is advisable to consult an ophthalmologist for further assessment and treatment. Sight test is done for babies. Squint test involves covering and uncovering each eye by turn. This test often shows which eye has the squint and how it moves. In rare cases, if the doctor suspects any other cause of squint, then he/she may advise for eye or brain scan.
Timely treatment reduces risk of complications, such as amblyopia or lazy eye. Treatment is more effective in younger children. Treatment in adults is not only for cosmetic benefits, but is for several reasons. Squints affect adults in emotional, social and economic way. Realigning the eye can reconstruct the appearance of eyes by providing better quality of life. Treatment includes:
- Glasses – if long sightedness is causing squint, then it is usually corrected by using glasses.
- Eye patch – this patch is worn on good eye. This will allow the squint eye to work better.
- Botulinum toxin injection or Botox – this treatment is effective when there is no underlying cause of squint and when the symptoms appear all of sudden. Botox injection is given into the muscle on the surface of eye which temporarily weakens the muscle and helps the eyes to align properly.
- In some cases, eye drops and eye exercise also helps in correcting the condition.
- Surgery is the last option if other treatments are not effective. It realigns the eyes and restores binocular vision. The surgery is done using hi end adjustable suture technology. The surgery is cost effective and quick to heal.
It is important for parents and close ones to understand that squint can have a deep psychological impact on child as well as adults, since such individuals are bullied by their classmates or colleagues. It is important that proper support is provided by parents or close ones to help such individuals gain the necessary confidence and be a part of treatment plan necessary for them.
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Radha K. Iyer is a contributing writer on Treatum Blog. When she is not writing, she can be found reading health and food blogs or experimenting with her culinary skills.
Disclaimer: The entire content of this article is for information purpose only and is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. It is not a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem and disease.