What is Strabismus/ Squint?

  • Strabismus or squint or crossed eyes affects about 3 to 4 % of children in India. Many children manifest strabismus at a very early age.
  • The condition is concerning as it could result from a very simple eye problem to a much-complexed one, such as amblyopia or neurological or brain-related problem.
  • Like any other eye condition, early diagnosis and subsequent appropriate treatment early on is very significant.
  • Strabismus could be a sign that the child may have another eye condition like the refractive error or lazy eye or eye muscle imbalance.
  • It also indicates the possibility of poor vision in one of the eyes, structural abnormalities like underdevelopment of optic nerve, issues in the brain and in very rare cases eye cancer.

How to identify the squint in a child?

  • Mostly it is very simple to identify strabismus in a child as the eyes are crossed and not aligned properly.
  • While in some children it may be obvious, few others may exhibit squint intermittently, like; at the time of waking up, before bedtime, during sickness or while daydreaming.
  • Some children may even report double vision if the squint is not present at the time of birth.

How do we treat the squint?

  • Treatment of squint varies from person to person, depending on the cause and nature of the condition.
  • While visiting an ophthalmologist, you may expect a comprehensive eye test followed by measurement of squint using a prism. Some children will require MRI Scan of the brain. The latter will only be advised if indicated medically, based upon the clinical presentation of symptoms.
  • Based on the findings, the most appropriate plan of treatment will be decided by the pediatric ophthalmologist. Squint is usually treated with the use of prescribed glasses, surgery, and the combination of both; glasses as well as surgery and with prism glasses prescribed for double vision.