Squint Surgery

squintSQUINT IN CHILDREN

Squint is a condition in which the eyes are not properly aligned i.e. one eye is straight and the other is turned away from the straight position.

A horizontal squint is “convergent” when the deviated or the abnormal eye is turned inwards and “divergent” when it is turned outwards. A “vertical” squint is one when the abnormal eye is turned up or down.

Squint can occur at any age. They can be constant, that is, present all day, or they can be intermittent and therefore occur at different times during the day; especially when the child is tired or unwell.

BINOCULAR VISION

It is only when we have both eyes straight, we can use them together as a pair and see things in three dimensions. This is called binocular vision.

AMBLYOPIA (LAZY EYE)

squint-treatmentWhen a child has squint, he uses only his straight or normal eye to see. Vision in this eye develops normally. The squinting or deviated eye is not used.
When a child has a constant squint, constant disuse of the squinting eye causes decreased vision in that eye. Hence the squinting eye becomes lazy. This is called Amblyopia. Amblyopia is, therefore, vision in an eye that is not used constantly.

TREATMENT

Amblyopia is potentially fully correctable by appropriate treatment. The success of treatment is mainly dependent on the age of the child and the degree of amblyopia. The younger the child, the easier and quicker the recovery. Amblyopia treatment is usually not effective after the age of 10-12 years.

SURGERY
vision_testing
After Amblyopia has been treated, some children will still need surgery on the eye muscles to put their eyes straight so that they can regain binocular vision. However, binocular vision can only be regained when the child is young.

In older children, when the squint has been present for a long time and binocular vision is not possible, the squinting eye can be put as straight as possible to improve the child’s appearance.

Not all children with squints require surgery. Some squints can be prevented or helped by wearing of glasses.

MYTHS AND FACTS

Myth “All babies squint”.
Fact They do not. Although the eyes are initially uncoordinated, control of eye movements is achieved by approximately 3 months of age.
Myth “Children under the age of two years cannot be examined.”
Fact No child is ever too young to be examined for squint. If squinting is evident, then early appropriate action can be taken.
Myth “Even if squint is present, no harm will occur if it is left alone; the child will grow out of it”.
Fact Harm will occur. The child can suffer gross loss of vision (Amblyopia) in the squinting eye and this may become permanent if neglected. He may even lose the chance of achieving binocular vision.
Myth “As long as the squint is only a tiny one, it really does not matter”.
Fact A small squint is as likely to result in Amblyopia and defective binocular vision as a large squint. Therefore, it must be examined as quickly as possible for correction.
Myth “A squint operation means the child can leave his glasses off afterwards”.
Fact Surgery will only alter the position of the eyes. It does not correct refractive errors.

Early treatment of squint helps to restore good vision and allows your child to use both eyes together.