Strabismus (Squint Eyes)
What is strabismus?
Strabismus or “Squint Eyes” is a condition where both eyes do not look at the same place at the same time (misalignment of the eyes). This occurs when the eyes are not aligned properly.
One or both of your child’s eyes may turn inward (esotropia), outward (exotropia), upward (hypertropia) or downward (hypotropia).
In some children, strabismus can come and go, while in others it is always there. Early diagnosis(before the age of 3 and half years) of strabismus is very important in preventing vision loss that occurs as a result of amblyopia (lazy eye).
What causes strabismus?
A child can be born with strabismus or develop it later in life.
Strabismus can be caused by problems with:
- The eye muscles
- The nerves that spread information to the muscles
- The control center in the brain that directs eye movements
- Other general health conditions or eye injuries
Conditions that can increase a child’s risk of developing a strabismus:
- Family history of strabismus
- Prematurity or low birth weight
- Conditions that affect vision, such as ptosis (droopy eye lid) or corneal scars
- Muscular and neurological abnormalities
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
What are the symptoms of strabismus?
It is not always easy for parents to tell if their child’s eyes are misaligned. This can be difficult to see in children with a mild strabismus. The following are symptoms of strabismus:
- One or both of your baby’s eyes wander out or cross in after 3 months of age
- Your child tilts their head in order to line up the eyes to use them together
- He/she may squint one eye, especially in bright sunlight, to be able to see more comfortably
How is strabismus diagnosed?
Strabismus is diagnosed through an eye exam. An orthoptist checks for eye movemenst and disgnose the strabismus.
How is strabismus treated?
Children with strabismus have several treatment options available to improve eye alignment and coordination. They include: eyeglasses or contact lenses, prism lenses, vision therapy, eye muscle surgery.
Eyeglasses or contact lenses may be prescribed for children with uncorrected farsightedness. This may be the only treatment needed for some patients with accommodative esotropia (eye crossing that is caused by problems focusing).
Prism lenses are special lenses that have a prescription for prism power in them. The prisms change the light entering the eye and help in reducing the amount of turning the eye has to do to look at objects. Prism lenses may be prescribed if the child has sudden double vision with no history of previous strabismus.
Vision therapy (known as convergence and accommodation therapy) is a structured program of vision exercises prescribed to improve eye coordination and eye focusing. These eye exercises help correct problems in eye movement and increase the eye-brain connection.
Eye muscle surgery can change the length or position of the muscles around the eye to better align the eyes. Eye muscle surgery can physically align the eyes so they appear straight.
How is strabismus prevented?
Strabismus cannot be prevented, but it can be corrected with early intervention.
Will my child always have strabismus?
Early and constant treatment of strabismus can improve vision and appearance. The best results are seen when the condition is corrected as early and before the age of seven.
If you have any questions or concerns:
Please contact Sidra eye clinic.