Squint Eye Surgery
What is squint or strabismus?
Six muscles control the movement of each eye. Each of these muscles acts along with its counterpart in the other eye to keep both the eyes aligned properly. A loss of coordination between the muscles of the two eyes leads to misalignment. Squint is a misalignment of the two eyes where both eyes are not looking in the same direction. This misalignment may be constant or may be present throughout the day or it may appear occasionally and the rest of the time the eyes may be straight; this is called as intermittent squint.
What causes squint?
The exact cause of squint is not known. The reason could be:
- Congenital squint: Congenital squint means that the child is born with a squint, or it develops within the first six months of age
- Refractive errors: Squints are sometimes caused by the eye's inability to focus on the light that passes through the lens. This is known as a refractive error. Types of refractive errors include:
- Other: Most squints are congenital or refractive, but there are some that can occasionally be results of:
What is 3D vision?
When both the eyes have good vision and are aligned properly, they focus on the same object, and sends picture of the same object, from different angles. These two images reach the brain where they are fused to form a single 3D or three- dimensional picture, known as a 3D vision. This gets affected in children with squint.
What are the problems faced by a patient with squint?
When the eyes are not aligned properly, each of the eyes is focusing on a different object and sends signal to the brain. These two different images reaching the brain lead to various problems that are different in children and adults.
In children it can cause loss of depth perception (3D vision) and lazy Eye Disease (poor development of vision in the squinting eye).
An adult can't ignore the image from either eye, and therefore they can have double vision. This can be very annoying and may interfere with work. Loss of 3D vision and cosmetic deformity are also causes of concern.
What are the symptoms of squint?
In 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 evaluated. Adults noticing double vision, or misalignment of the eyes should get themselves checked up too.
What are the treatment options?
Early treatment can help save the vision.
Children rarely outgrow a true squint. If treatment is delayed after the age of eight, the child will see with only one eye even after the squint is corrected by surgery. This is because until the age of eight both the eyes develop and work together. When there is a squint only one eye works. If the squint is operated upon after the age of eight, only a cosmetic result can be achieved as the eyes are already developed by then.
- Glasses: If the child has significant refractive error, glasses are a must. In some cases wearing glasses may correct squint. In other cases, wearing glasses help the eyes to see clearly. This clear vision is very important for the prevention of amblyopia, and also for maintaining the alignment of the eyes after they have been corrected by surgery. Remember surgery cannot replace the need for glasses
- Patching Therapy: In some children, squints cause the affected eye to become 'lazy' and stop working properly. Patching of the 'good' eye will make the lazy eye work harder, which in turn will improve vision.
- Surgery: Treatment of squint generally requires eye muscle surgery. The best way to determine whether straightening of the eyes is possible and appropriate is to ask your doctor.
What preventive measures can be followed?
- Avoid marriages between blood relations.
- Treat all eye defects among children as early as possible.
- Convergence exercises help to coordinate the eye movements.
Myth Busters (Click on myth to know the fact)
Fact: This is just a baseless Indian myth, as soon as the person is detected of squint, they should be asked to come immediately for treatment..Squinting may be a sign for requirement of glasses, but it doesn't make it any worse
Fact: This rumour is false and baseless as the above one.
Fact: Even if you squint, ultraviolet light still reaches your eyes, damaging the cornea, lens, and retina. Never watch welding without wearing the proper eye protection. Never look directly at a solar eclipse.
Fact: Infants' eyes are known to occasionally wander until they are 6 months old. However, if you notice your child's eyes crossing even a little bit, you should get them checked by an Ophthalmologist. Untreated squints can go on to develop amblyopia or lazy eye which can cause permanent loss of vision.