What is Squint?
Squint is a visual disorder in which the eyes are not aligned properly and point in different directions. The eye turn may be consistent, or it may come and go. One eye may look straight ahead, while the other eye turns inward, outward, or downward. Sometimes, the misaligned eye might look straight and the straight eye might look misaligned. Squint is a common condition among children and it occurs for both males and females. It can also occur later in life. Squint may occur for more than one member in a family; however, many people with squint have no relatives with the problem.
Causes of Squint
The causes of squint are not clear. There are six muscles that control the movement of the eye and these muscles are attached to the outside of the eye. To line up and focus both eyes on the same target, there should be a balance and coordination between the six muscles in each eye.
Types of Squint
Inward-turning eye (esotropia): where the eye turns inward, it is the most common type of squint in young children. Children with this type cannot use their eyes together and require surgery as a treatment.
Outward-turning eye (exotropia): where the eye turns outward, it is also a common type of squint. This occurs most often when a child focuses on distant targets. The exotropia may occur only from time to time, particularly when a child is daydreaming, ill or tired.
Diagnosis of Squint
It is required that children have their vision checked by a specialized physician specifically at early childhood and preschool to ensure that eyes are free of any disorders. This examination becomes more important in case there is a family history of squint or visual disorders. Squint does not improve if the child exceeds 4 months of age.
Why Early Treatment of Squint is Important?
Misaligned eye during childhood leads to reduced or lose vision. This happens because the brain learns to see the image from the straight eye and ignores the image from the misaligned eye. As a result, the misaligned eye may fail to develop good vision or may even lose vision.
Treatment of Squint
The treatment of squint varies from case to case according to the underlying cause. The treatment could be either prescribing eyeglasses or surgery to correct the unbalanced eye muscles or to remove a cataract. The decision of whether medical or surgical treatment is required depends on the results of the eye examination.
Squint surgery does not require the eyeball to be removed from the socket. The surgeon detaches the eye muscles from the wall of the eye and repositions them depending on which direction the eye is turning. It may be necessary to perform surgery on one or both eyes. It is recommended to perform early surgery to improve the chance of restoring or promoting normal binocular vision. Squint surgeries are classified as safe and effective surgeries.