Squint is frequently observed in Children

Squint is often found in children that are sometimes ignored by family members. It is very important to observe children during developing stage to control such type disease. A squint is developed when the eyes do not look in the same direction. Squint is basically the misalignment of the eyes. Both the eyes do not look in the same direction. This misalignment may be stable, being present throughout the day, or it may emerge sometimes. Mostly it occurs in young children. A child who has developed squint do not use affected eye to see object or environment. The consequences are harmful for eyes. It can lead to visual loss which is called amblyopia. Amblyopia is sometimes referred as lazy eye. In this medical condition, the vision in an eye is poor and it is caused by lack of use of the eye in early childhood. The visual loss of amblyopia cannot be corrected by wearing glasses.This condition can become permanent if not treated properly in childhood. The movement of each eye is controlled by six muscles that pull the eye in various directions. For example, to look left, the lateral rectus muscle of the left eye pulls the left eye outward and the medical rectus of the right eye pulls the right eye inward towards the nose. A squint develops when the eye muscles do not work in a balanced way and the eyes do not move together correctly. Most squints develop sometime in the first three years of life of an individual.

Causes of Squint

In many cases, the child is born with a squint, or it develops within six months of age. This is a congenital squint. In most cases, the causes are not established. Sometimes one eye turns inward. This is called congenital esotropia. It is concluded by researcher that this common type of squint tends to run in some families so there is some genetic factor to develop squint. However, it is observed that congenital esotropia have no genetic factor. In many cases, doctors diagnose that the eye turns outward that is congenital exotropia. It is rare that a squint of unidentified cause may result in an upward or downward turn of the eye. There are some refractive errors which include short sight (myopia), long sight (hypermetropia) and astigmatism. These are conditions develop due to poor focusing of light through the lens in the eye. When the child with a refractive error attempts to focus to see evidently, an eye may revolve. Such type of squint develops in children who are two years or older, in particular in children with long sight. Most children with a squint have one of the categories discussed above. They remain healthy. Doctors have found many cases where a squint is one characteristic of a more generalized genetic or brain condition. A squint may develop in some children with cerebral palsy, Noonan syndrome, hydrocephalus, brain injury, and various other conditions.


The common symptom of a squint is observed as one of the eyes is not looking straight ahead. It is quite normal in newborn babies because their eyes look cross occasionally, particularly if they are tired. When it is noticed in child beyond three months of age, it is advisable to go to eye specialist. Child may also look at person with one eye closed, or with their head turned to one side. These may be clues that they are experiencing double vision and could be an indication that they have a squint.


Diagnosis is an important step to handle squint patients. It should be diagnose as early as possible. It is recommended to go for routine checks to identify eye problems in babies and children which are normally done at the new-born examination and at the 6-8 week review. Doctors also review a routine pre-school or school-entry vision check. Some newborn babies have a mild squint that disappears as they grow. It is important to know that any squint that is present after the age of three months is usually permanent unless treated. It is the responsibility of parents to communicate the development of eye problem even if their child has had routine eye checks. If they experience any disability with children related to eye, they must rush to doctors and discuss thoroughly because most of the disease can be treated permanently at early age. A child who is suspected squint is usually referred to an orthoptist. An orthoptist is a health professional who is specially trained to judge and manage children with squint and amblyopia. If necessary, an orthoptist will refer a child to an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) for further assessment and treatment.


It is necessary to treat squint as per doctor's advice because in the squint patient, each eye is focusing on a different object and is sending different signals to the brain. These two different images reaching the brain lead to confusion and may have either of the two effects: A child would ignore the image coming from the deviated eye, and thus sees only one image. But in the process, he loses the depth perception. But an adult can not ignore the image from either eye and therefore has double vision. This can be very irritating and may interfere with daily work. The main purpose of treatment of squint is to preserve or restore vision, straighten the eyes, restore binocular vision. There are some treatment steps according to the type of squint. Doctors recommend glasses to wear regularly in order to correct any refractive error, if this is present. Sometime doctors choose surgery to correct the appearance of the squint itself and may help to restore binocular vision in some cases. In many cases, an operation is recommended to make the eyes as straight as possible. Surgery is done to improve the appearance of the eyes. In some cases, surgery may also improve or restore binocular vision. The exact operation depends on the type and severity of the squint.

Squint patient must keep in mind that they have to follow doctor's advice. They must check regularly the developments on eye and inform doctor. If they find doctors are not getting their point, they can go for second opinion. Squint can be treated in early stage but regular follow up is must. The information in this article is just for knowledge of disease. If such type of medical condition develops, consult your doctor.

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