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Squint: A common eye problem in children

  • Posted on- Feb 25, 2016
  • 3198 Views

The condition of squint commonly occurs in children but may also occur in adults. Squint is a condition when the alignment of eyes is not the same and it looks like each eye is looking in the different directions. The condition of misalignment can be constant throughout the day or may appear few times a day. Sometimes eyes may be straight and looking in the same direction.

What are the causes of squint?

The alignment and the movement of each eye is controlled by the six muscles, each of which acts along with its counterpart muscle in other eye to keep both the eyes in same alignment and movement.

A loss of coordination between the counterpart muscles of the eyes may results in the misalignment of eyes. This difference in the alignment may be same in all directions of the gaze or sometimes may be more in one direction.

There may be another cause of misalignment which is a refractive error called hypermetropia. Hypermetropia may result in the inward deviation of eye. Although the exact cause of squint is unknown.

Problems associated with squint

If a person or a child is affected with squint and both the eyes are not aligned in the same direction then each eye focuses on two different objects and sends different signals to the brain. The two different signals sent to the brain leads to the confusion, thus a child would ignore one image which is coming from the deviated eye and in this process he/she may lose the depth precision which results in the poor development of the vision in the deviated eye.

In case of an adult, squint leads to double vision. This situation can be very troublesome and may also affect the everyday work.

What are the symptoms of squint?

The only symptom of squint is noticing the misalignment of eyes. In general, a newly born child rarely have both the eyes aligned in the same direction but if the eyes are still misaligned after 3-4 weeks of birth then the situation must be taken seriously and an ophthalmologist should be contacted for evaluation.

In adults the double vision and the misalignment of eyes can be the reasons of squint.

How squint is diagnosed?

An ophthalmologist performs various tests to detect the existence of squint. The misalignment can be detected very easily without any machine test but in some cases the ophthalmologist needs to differentiate between true squint and false squint or the case when the difference in the alignment of eyes is very less. During the test, the ophthalmologist identifies the amount of deviation.

What are the treatment options for squint?

Treatment of squint is done in order to get the eyes straight, restore binocular vision and to preserve the vision of deviated eye. The only way of squint treatment is getting through an eye surgical procedure which is known as squint surgery.

Before squint surgery is started, eyes are checked for any refractive error and if the eyes have refractive errors then these must be diagnosed first because sometimes only the removal of refractive errors from the eyes is enough to treat the squint.

Now the eyes are checked for the presence of amblyopia (Poor vision development of deviated eye), if exists then removal of amblyopia is treated first. Now it comes to the actual treatment of squint, it is treated by the surgery of both or one of the eyes that involves the strengthening or weakening of the relevant muscles to restore the balance and coordination of the movement of eyes.