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Vishnu Eye Clinic - Laser Foundation : Patient Education

What is squint?

Squint (or strabismus) is misalignment of the eyes, due to which both eyes do not look in the same direction. This misalignment may be constant, or it may appear only sometimes.

It is a common condition among children. It may also occur in adults. 

What causes squint?

The exact cause of squint is not really known. Movement in the eye is controlled by 6 muscles. Loss of coordination between the muscles leads to misalignment. This misalignment may be the same in all directions of gaze, or in some conditions the misalignment may be more in one direction of gaze. 

Sometimes a refractive error hypermetropia (long sight) or poor vision in the eye because of some other eye disease (such as cataract) may also cause the eye to deviate. Therefore it is important in all the cases of squint, especially in children, to have a thorough eye checkup to rule out any other cause of loss of vision.

What are the problems with squint?

When the eyes are not aligned properly, each of the eyes is focusing on a different object. These two different images reaching the brain lead to confusion and may have either of the two effects:

1. Children might ignore the image coming from the deviated eye, and focus on only one image - but lose depth perception in the process. This suppression of the image from the deviating eye results in poor development of vision in this eye, which is known as Amblyopia.

In the case of adults, patients can not ignore the image from either eye, and therefore result in double vision. This can be very annoying and may interfere with work.

What are the symptoms of squint?

n a child, the parents may notice the deviation of eyes. It is important to remember that the eyes of a newborn are rarely aligned at birth. Most establish alignment at 3-4 weeks of age. Therefore squint in any child who is more than one month old must be taken seriously and should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist.

Adults may notice double vision, or misalignment of the eyes.

How is squint diagnosed?

The squint is diagnosed by the ophthalmologist. A few special tests confirm the disorder

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