Squint (Strabismus)

Squint In Children

Squint is a term commonly used for a misalignment of the eyes. This may occur in children of any age and can affect the horizontal or vertical alignment, or both. Normally the brain acts as a magnet, keeping the eyes in alignment. Sometimes the eyes have a tendency to drift out of alignment which overpowers the ability of the brain to keep them straight. Some other common causes of eye misalignment are issues with the focus of the eyes, a weak or tight eye muscle, or poor vision in one eye. When the eyes appear to be out of alignment, a complete eye examination can usually determine the reason.

Treatment for Squint

A variety of treatments can be used for the treatment of strabismus depending on the type of eye alignment problem and coexisting eye conditions.

Glasses

The two main reasons to use glasses in the treatment of strabismus are
1) to optimize visual acuity and
2) improve eye alignment by either decreasing or increasing convergence.

In children, it is usually necessary to use eye drops to obtain an accurate measurement of the focus of the eyes which is essential when prescribing eyeglasses for a child.

Patching

Usually, patching or occlusion therapy is used when the vision in one eye has decreased due to either strabismus or a focusing issue or both.

Surgery

Strabismus surgery can be useful to improve eye alignment in many different types of strabismus. The procedure can be performed safely in one or both eyes and is done in a hospital, typically under a general anaesthetic. This treatment is usually reserved for cases where glasses are of limited use and any required occlusion therapy has been completed.

Botox

Botox (botulinum toxin) is a medication which causes weakness or paralysis when injected into a muscle. It can be used in certain types of strabismus, and can be particularly useful when eye alignment problems are due to a damaged nerve or thyroid eye disease.

Exercises

Eye alignment (orthoptic) exercises are useful in some forms of strabismus, when there is difficulty with bringing the eyes together to look at a near object (converging).