Dr. Chirag Mittal
Cornea Surgeon & Eye Specialist
Dr. Himani Mittal
Newborn & Child Specialist
Superspeciality Centre for Eyes & Childhood Diseases
Commonly known as “Strabismus”, where the eyes are not aligned in the same direction, this can be present only part of the time, in one or alternating between two eyes. The squinting may turn in (converge), turn out (diverge) or sometimes turn up or down.
You might be wondering what causes it- Is it by birth, accidental, hereditary- Our eye expert, Dr. Chirag Mittal says, it arises due to an incorrect balance of muscles, refractive error, childhood illnesses, nerve palsy and several other reasons.
SQUINT - DECODED
What About Childhood Squint?
If the squint is suspected, then it is necessary to evaluate the baby at the earliest. Sometimes a “Pseudo Squint” may be present due to a wide gap between the eyes, flat nose bridge where the eyes do appear misaligned but do not actually have the squint. The causes are:
Congenital Squint– These children are born with a squint though it may not be obvious for few weeks. A strong family history could be present.In all children, the vision and need for spectacles have to be assessed.
Long Sightedness or Hypermetropia– As the child cannot focus well, he has to put extra effort to focus, which can cause a double vision. To avoid this, the image in one eye is suppressed unconsciously and in turn, the child avoids using that eye. If left untreated not only does the eye deviate but also becomes a lazy Eye (Amblyopia).
Childhood illnesses- Squint may also develop because of viral fever, measles, meningitis etc
Injury to the nerves
Is Squint Eye Only A Cosmetic Problem?
Not always. It can be associated with decreased vision or diplopia (double vision). Loss of binocular vision (ability to use the Eyes together) can lead to loss of fine stereopsis (depth perception) and peripheral visual field.
How Can The Squint Be Assessed?
It is assessed by various orthoptics test, the aim of which is to:
Establish the amount and type of Squint eye
Assess how well can the Child / Adult see = refraction
Test for Binocular Vision
Fundus examination including fixation pattern
Treatment Options For Childhood Squint
The child is thoroughly assessed to know the type of squint as it is very important to note the vision and fixation pattern in both eyes. The spectacle power and degree of squint will be examined till he grows up. Any residual squint that may not be corrected by spectacle can be corrected by eye surgery. Few eye diseases like:
1. Amblyopia / Lazy Eye
This is treated by Patching/Occluding the good eye. The weaker eye is encouraged to work harder with visual activities such as colouring and reading while a patch is on.
2. Squint Surgery
Sometimes this is the only choice to straighten the eye. If done at the appropriate time results can be very good and 3D vision can develop.
Will More Than One Surgery Be Required For Corrected Squint Eyes?
It is not uncommon for more than one operation to be necessary. This does not mean that something has gone wrong, but that fine-tuning is needed to obtain the best straight alignment. Sometimes the Squint is too Large and hence 2-stage Surgery is planned.
Will Straightening My Eyes After All These Years Cause Me To See Double?
Double Vision may occur after straightening eyes that have been out of alignment for many years. However, it is generally a transient problem, lasting only a few weeks until the brain adapts to the new eye Position.
What Happens After The Operation?
It is a day Care Surgery with no hospitalisation. The eye pad is removed the next day and eyedrops are instilled a couple of times during the next weeks. Since it is an external surgery there is no effect on the vision. Most of the times external sutures are absorbable and do not have to be removed. Though the eyes may be red initially but a person can join back his office in a couple of days.
After reading this article, you might be wondering how you can address your issues with squinting. The simplest and most effective way would be to visit a trained eye care professional who could diagnose any underlying medical ailments causing your squinting and treat them, as correcting squint now is entirely possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can Yoga Cure Squint?
Yes, it can.
2. How Do Adults Fix Squint Eyes?
The most common treatment for squints in adults is eye muscle surgery.
3. Is Squint Eyes Genetic?
For centuries, strabismus has been recognized as a hereditary condition. It is therefore likely to be passed on from parent to child.
4. Is Squint Surgery Painful?
Surgery for squints is not usually painful, although the patient may feel uncomfortable post-operation for a few days.
5. How Long Is Squint Surgery?
It usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes for a squint operation to be completed.