What is squint?
Squint is misalignment of the eyes where the two eyes are pointed in different directions. Though it is a common condition, which affects 4 percent of children, it may also appear later in life. The misalignment may be permanent, noticeable always or it may be temporary occurring occasionally. The deviation could be in any direction – inward, outward, upward or downward.
In majority of cases, the squint presents alternately in either eye, while in others it is always present only in one eye. Left untreated, it leads to permanent visual loss, a condition called amblyopia or lazy eye.
Squint may be caused by any of the following:
v Weakened muscles or abnormal nerve impulses to the eye muscles.
v Blurred or poor vision
v Conditions inside the eye such as cataract
The primary symptom of squint is an eye that is not straight. Sometimes, a youngster will squint or close one eye in bright sun light. Faulty depth perception may be present. Some children turn their face or tilt their head in a specific direction in order to use their eyes together.
Parents often get the false impression that a child may ‘Outgrow” the problem. If a child has the two eyes pointed in different directions, examination by an ophthalmologist is necessary to determine the cause and to begin the treatment.
The goals of treatment are to preserve vision, straighten the eyes and to restore binocular vision. Treatment of squint depends upon the exact cause of the misaligned eyes. It can be directed towards unbalanced muscles or other conditions, which are causing the eyes to point in two different directions. After a complete eye examination, including a detailed study of the inner parts of the eye, an ophthalmologist can recommend appropriate optical, medical or surgical therapy.