Cross eyes is called Squint. The two eyes are directed in different direction & doesn’t remain straight. This deviation could be in any direction, up down, inwards or outwards. It is a common eye problem especially in children. However it is also known to occur in adults. It is seen in 3 – 5 % of normal population.
When does one develop Squint?
Squint can occur due to a variety of causes such as hereditary, muscle weakness, poor vision, any disease occurring within the eye such as Cataract in children or a more serious retinal problem.
When should one suspect Squint?
- Vital sign is when eyes are not positioned straight.
- When child turns his face or tilts head to see in a particular direction.
- Closes one eye in bright sunlight.
Is it necessary to treat Squint?
Several misconceptions exist among the parents pertaining to squint in children, a notion that it brings luck to the family. Again a false notion persists that the child may overcome the problem gradually. On the contrary, squint noticed at the earliest and intervened holds promises of better vision. If a child has cross-eyes, it is absolutely essential to examine & establish the cause so as to commence the treatment & prevent the after effects.
What happens if Squint is left untreated?
Amblyopia (Lazy eye) – gradual deterioration of vision in an otherwise normal eye. The risk is greater in children below 10 years age. Once the eye becomes lazy, it tends to be irreversible unless intervened appropriately.
How does squint correction help?
- Straightens the eyes (cosmetic)
- Restores vision
- Preserves Binocularity (To use both eyes simultaneously)
What are the treatment options available?
Certain squints are corrected by prescribing appropriate powered glasses or performing eye exercises. However majority require surgery on the eye muscles.
Brief about squint surgery
- Surgery is performed under general anaesthesia in children & local anaesthesia after 1 single injection in adults
- Baseline blood tests done before Sx
- Surgery is done on both eyes simultaneously in same sitting or one at a time depending on type of squint.
- Operation is performed over the eye muscles located outside the eye.
- Patient can be discharged immediately if performed under local anaesthesia.
- Eye needs to be patched for one day.
- Patient can continue his daily tasks soon after surgery.