A squint is a condition where the eyes point in different directions.
What is strabismus?
Strabismus is the medical term of a squint, a condition where the eyes point in different directions. One eye may turn inwards, outwards, upwards or downwards while the other eye looks forward. Squints are common and affect about one in 20 children. They usually develop before a child is five years old, but can appear later, and adults can also be treated for the condition.
Most squints in children need to be assessed as soon as possible to ensure the vision is protected and to improve the chances of successful treatment.
Treatments include glasses and, occasionally, eye exercises. If your child has a lazy eye, they may need to wear an eye patch to improve the vision in the affected eye. Many patients may only need the condition monitoring reqularly.In some cases, corrective surgery may be undertaken, most commonly to improve the appearance of the eyes, but sometimes to correct double vision or, in young children, to try and develop the co-ordination of the two eyes to work together for 3-D (depth) vision. Occasionally, surgery is done to improve an abnormal position of the head.
Squint surgery is a very common eye operation. It usually involves tightening or moving one or more of the outside eye muscles which move the eye to change the eye position. These muscles are attached quite close to the front of the eye under the conjunctiva, the clear surface layer.
Squint surgery is nearly always a day-case procedure, so you should be in and out of hospital on the same day. There are two kinds of squint operation – adjustable and non-adjustable. In adjustable surgery, which can be performed in older children and adults, the stitches can be adjusted shortly after the surgery, when the patient is awake.
Occasionally, squints corrected during childhood reappear in adulthood. You should visit your GP as soon as possible if you develop a new squint.