Squint is an eye condition in which the two eyes are not aligned properly and do not seem to be looking in the same direction. Strabimus is the medical term used for this disorder but it is more commonly known as squint eye. The misalignment in the squint eye can be constant or intermittent. The disorder is more common in premature babies and children born with cerebral palsy. However, the disorder can also occur in adults without a history of childhood eye misalignment.
- Eyes look misaligned
- The movement of both the eyes is not coordinated
- Each eye sees objects independently
- Loss of vision in any one eye
- Blurred vision
- Frequent headaches
- Difficulty in reading
Eyes of newborns appear to be squint because of undeveloped vision. In persons with this disorder, both the eyes cannot coordinate their movement, and look in different directions while trying to focus on a single object or point. This happens due to weak muscles, or unequal pulling of muscles on one side of the eye. Squint can also happen due to paralysis of the muscles of the eyes. The muscles are unable to actively move the eyes as per will. In adults an injury to the head that causes harm to the brain or a stroke are the prominent causes of strabimus. A diabetic often has poor blood supply to the eye muscles hence it may lead to this eye disorder. Loss of vision and hyperopia gradually cause the eyes to turn outwards or inwards thus causing squint eyes. Astigmatism, an unevenly curved cornea, can also cause the eyes to squint. There is possibility that a cataract or a tumour might lead to squint eye.
Since in a squint eye both the eyes seem to be looking in different directions the disorder becomes apparent and can be easily noticed by the parents or doctors in newborns and children while an adult can notice the disorder himself. If there is very little misalignment that is not so apparent but if the above mentioned symptoms occur, then an eye check up can establish the presence of squint eye. The diagnosis includes physical examination of the eyes, their alignment and strength of the extra-ocular muscles.
- Eye exercises – Various eye exercise are effective in strengthening the eye muscles and rectifying the problem.
- Botulinum toxin injection – This injection is given in the eye muscles, it temporarily weakens the muscle and helps realigning the eye. It is only used in some types of squint problems, which are caused due to the nerves around the eyes.
- Glasses – If the squint eye is caused due to hyperopia, astigmatism or any other refractive error it can be corrected by wearing glasses that correct these refractive errors.
- Eye patch – When the vision of any one eye does not develop properly causing the eyes to look in different directions, an eye patch technique is used. In this type of treatment the eye that is well developed is covered with a patch to allow maximum use of the eye that is poorly developed, thus inducing its development.
- Surgery – Surgery is performed to loosen or tighten the eye muscles as per requirement to coordinate the movement of both the eyes.