A squint occurs when the two eyes are not looking in the same direction. Squints can happen at any age. The medical term is "strabismus".
The squinting eye can turn inwards (convergent squint) or outwards (divergent squint). A squint can also be vertical, with one eye higher than the other.
Squints can be constant (i.e. present all the time) or they can be intermittent and occur under certain circumstances, e.g. reading, looking in the distance, or when tired. When a squint is constant, the following can occur:
Treatment for a child with a squint consists of two parts.
1 Maximising vision
Longsighted glasses can reduce or completely control this type of squint. Sometimes bifocals are prescribed if the squint angle is worse for near than for far vision. But if the glasses do not completely eliminate the squint, surgery is then needed for the remaining squint.
Many Asian babies, particularly among the oriental races, appear to have a convergent squint when a flat nose bridge covers the inner part of the eyes. If a true squint is not present after medical examination, it is called a pseudo (false) squint and treatment is not necessary.
Amblyopia if not treated in childhood will cause permanent poor vision. A child with a constant squint will not have 3-dimensional vision.
Early amblyopia treatment and/or squint operation may be required to enable the squinting child to have good vision in both eyes and normal binocular function.
Fact: They do not. Although the eyes are initially un-coordinated, control of eye movements is achieved at approximately three months of age.
Fact: No child is too young to be examined for a squint. If squinting is present and detected early, appropriate treatment can be given.
Fact: The child can suffer loss of vision (amblyopia) in the squinting eye. This may become permanent if neglected.
Fact: A small squint is as likely to result in amblyopia and defective binocular vision as a large squint. The child should be referred to the eye doctor as early as possible for treatment.
Fact: Although surgery can be performed at any age, it may only improve the cosmetic appearance. Early surgery (after appropriate amblyopia treatment) provides the chance for full coordination of both eyes and binocular (3-dimensional) vision.
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