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What is a strabismus or squint?
Strabismus or squint both mean the same thing, and refer to a turn in one eye (or sometimes both eyes). The turn can be inward or outward, or sometimes vertical, so both eyes are not pointing in the same direction. They are sometimes referred to as cross-eyed, but we detest this terminology at peoplespupils.com! This can result in a lazy eye in young children, or double-vision in older children or adults. Some babies can have a squint but this usually resolves by 6 months of age. If it is still present after 6 months, specialist advice should be sought.

What should I do if the eyes look straight to me but other people think they’re wandering?
Sometimes, it is easier for “outsiders” to detect squints. Photographs can often highlight a squint, which was otherwise unidentified. If there is any suspicion of a squint, in an adult or child, immediately contact your eyecare specialist.

What causes a squint?
There are six muscles on each outer eyeball which work together to allow eye movement. A squint would result if there is an issue with any of these muscles or the nerves supplying these muscles. This could be as a result of a glasses prescription, a systemic or general health disease (e.g. diabetes or overactive thyroid) or simply a muscle weakness in the eye.

What is the treatment for a squint?
If the cause is to do with general health, the health issue must be addressed first. If glasses straighten the eyes, then no additional treatment is required. Surgical treatment may be required in certain cases. As a squint is influenced by several factors, careful consideration must be carried out before opting for surgery. After all, every surgery carries risks and good outcomes are not guaranteed.

Last word
Always consult your eye care practitioner for advice on best management of a squint, as different types of squints require different treatments.

Useful link: click here for more information on squints from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Other topics of interest: Children’s Glasses, Amblyopia (‘Lazy Eye’)

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