A squint, or strabismus, is a condition in which the eyes do not align properly.
One eye turns inwards, upwards, downwards, or outwards, while the other
one focuses at one spot.
It can happen all the time or intermittently.
This usually occurs because the muscles that control the movement of the eye
and the eyelid, the extraocular muscles, are not working together.
As a result, both eyes are unable to look at the same spot at the same time.
It can also happen because a disorder in the brain means that the eyes cannot
Strabismus also makes binocular vision impossible, so it is harder for the person to appreciate depth perception.
The following terms describe strabismus by the positions of the eye:
Hypertropia is when the eye turns upwards
Hypotropia is when the eye turns downwards
Esotropia is when the eye turns inwards
Exotropia is when the eye turns outwards
Signs and symptoms in children
The sign of a squint is fairly obvious from an early age. One of the eyes does
not look straight ahead. A minor squint may be less noticeable.
Infants and newborns may go cross-eyed, especially if they are tired. This does
not mean that they have a squint. Parents can check with their doctor.
If a child has one eye closed, or turns their head when looking at you, this
could be a sign of double vision, and a possible squint. It is a good idea to see a
Strabismus is normally either present at birth or it develops in the first 6
months after birth.
Strabismus can lead to double vision if it returns in adulthood.
Untreated, it can lead to amblyopia, or 'lazy eye', in which the brain starts
ignoring input from one of the eyes.
The brain ignores one of the eyes to avoid double vision.
If there is poor vision in the affected eye, a child may benefit from wearing a
patch over the other eye to encourage the vision to develop.
Sometimes a squint that was treated successfully in childhood returns later in
This may lead to double vision in the adult because, by that time, the brain has
been trained to gather data from both eyes, so it cannot ignore one of them.
Strabismus can be:
congenital, meaning a person is born with it
hereditary, or running in families, suggesting a genetic link
the result of an illness or long-sightedness
due to a lesion on a cranial nerve
Treatment options include:
Glasses: If hypermetropia, or long-sightedness, is causing the squint,
glasses can usually correct it.
Eye patch: Worn over the good eye, a patch can get the other eye, the
one with the squint, to work better.
Botulinum toxin injection, or botox: this is injected into a muscle on the
surface of the eye. The doctor may recommend this treatment if no
underlying cause can be identified, and if signs and symptoms appear
suddenly. The botox temporarily weakens the injected muscle, and this
can help the eyes to align properly.
Eye drops and eye exercises may help.
Here at Mehta Eyecare Centre we have skilled Orthoptics, who specialises in
this field and guarantee a safe treatment, with all required facilities.