Squint is a condition in which the eyes are not aligned properly because of improper balance of muscles that move the eyes. The medical term for squint is strabismus in which one eye or both the eyes turn either inwards, outwards, upwards or downwards. This improper alignment of eyes may be either temporary, permanent or may occur occasionally. It is a relatively common condition in childrenbut may also develop in adults. Treatment for squint is done in order to get straightness of eyes, restore binocular vision and preserve the vision of deviated eye.
The squint surgery is performed under general anesthesia where your child will be asleep and will not feel any pain. Your child's eye will be kept open using an instrument called a lid speculum. The ophthalmologist then makes a small incision in the clear tissue covering the white of the eye. Once the muscles have been exposed, certain muscles are repositioned, either weakened or strengthened to make the eyes straighter. Then the muscles are sewn into place using stiches that dissolve in a few weeks.
Your child may need a Squint surgery if
- One of the eyes turn inwards, outwards, upwards or downwards, while the other eye looks forward
- Your child looks at you with one eye closed or with his/her head turned to one side and this happens repeatedly. This is a sign that your child may be suffering from double vision
For children with constant strabismus, early surgery offers the best chance for the eyes to work well together and restore parallelism of the visual axis. Your child is an ideal candidate for squint surgery when all other non-surgical options to address the problem fails.
The Risks Involved
Problems in wound healing, double vision, inflammation or infection of the eyeball, cyst formation at the site of dissolvable sutures, ‘slipped muscle’, bleeding, excessive scarring and in rare cases loss of vision are the complications that may arise following a Squint surgery. Over-or-under correction can occur and further "touch-up" surgery may be needed.
Squint is rarely a “muscle-only” problem. Hence, even if surgery is performed, vision therapy is recommended after surgery to help stabilize the visual system and maximize the positive outcome. Perfect eye alignment is a good indicator of a successful outcome. However, more permanent results may not be known until four to six weeks after surgery. Children below the age of 10 will very likely need one or two subsequent procedures to maintain the best possible eye alignment.
If you suspect squint eyes in your child it is crucial to consult an ophthalmologist for assessment and treatment. The treatment for squint in a child should be initiated as early as possible because earlier the treatment, better the chances of correcting squint and preventing vision loss. Squint is condition that not only affects the appearance but also tremendously impacts the self-confidence of your child. Hence it is best to treat early. Realign your child’s eyes and provide a better quality life.