Squint is a medical condition of eyes where the eyes point in different directions. Also called strabismus, it is common eye condition effecting one in 20 children. Usually a child develops this condition before 5 but the condition can also develop in later years.
Squint and vision
It is difficult to live with a squint eye because it causes double vision and lazy eye – poor vision in the eye with squint problem. Also, it can lead to abnormal positioning of the head. Lazy eye develops when the squint is left untreated for a long time. The affected eye loses its strength gradually. A lazy eye can be treated until the child turns 6 or 7. But this condition must be treated as early as possible.
Types of squints and their causes
Squint could be inwards (convergent) or outwards (divergent) or it could turn the eye up or down causing vertical squint. But it is only the physical classification of the squint.
Sometimes the squint remains permanent. Whenever you look at the affected person, you find his eyes pointing towards different direction. It is called constant squint. But sometimes you find that an affected child looks squint only in specific times like during eye-contacts. It is called intermittent squint.
Some babies are born with squint. It is called congenial or infantile squint. And the children that develop the condition in later years have acquired squint. Children get acquired squint while trying to overcome a different vision problem like short and long sightedness. Sometimes they get squint due to genetic disorders that are never known.
A squint rarely develops as a condition in the eye itself.
Treatment for a squint condition should start as soon as the condition is diagnosed. Early treatment ensures no vision loss and improves chances of success.
Children suffering from squint vision are asked to do certain exercises that control movement of eyes. Also, they are provided glasses to set the vision right. For lazy eye, a patch is worn over the affected eye. This patch improves vision in the long run.
A correction surgery is required to end double vision in young children. But sometimes a surgery is done to improve appearance of the eyes or normal position of the head. The surgical process involves tightening of eye muscles but eyes are never taken out of their sockets and the muscles are tighten with stitches.
Squint surgery can be divided into two types – adjustable and non-adjustable. Adjustable surgery is performed on older kids and it allows adjusting the stitches according to medical condition of the patients.
The surgical process for squint treatment is largely risk-free but sometimes more than one surgery is required to correct the issue.
Recovery from surgery
A patient could take a week or more like several weeks to recover fully and during recovery, he might experience mild pain or temporary loss of vision in the affected eye. But the symptoms improve with time. In severe cases, patients are administered prescription drugs.