Strabismus is one of the most common eye defects of many people within the UK and across the world. According to research conducted in 2010, the prevalence of childhood strabismus is 1.5% to 5.3% in the UK. This article will discuss this squint meaning by answering the question “What is strabismus?” and talk about its types, causes, and available treatment options.
What Is Strabismus, Also Known As Squint?
Six muscles control eye movement and work together to point both eyes in one direction. Strabismus or squint is a common condition in which the eyes are misaligned, causing one to deviate inward or outward while the other remains focused. Essentially, a squinting person has eyes in different directions because they struggle with eye movement control.
Types Of Strabismus or Squint
There are different forms of squint eye categorised according to many factors. The following terms describe a strabismus eye by its positions:
- Hypertropia – When the eye turns upwards
- Hypotropia – When the eye turns downwards
- Esotropia – When the eye turns inwards
- Exotropia- When the eye turns outwards
Squints can also be classified by their severity:
- A concomitant squint means the squint’s angle remains unchanged in every direction you look.
- An incomitant squint means the squint’s angle can vary.
Furthermore, squints can be classified by how constant they are present:
- An ever-present squint is a constant squint.
- A squint that comes and goes is an intermittent squint.
Causes Of Squint
Strabismus in children often has an unknown cause. In more than one-half of such cases, you will notice problems with newborn eye alignment at or shortly after birth. This is called “the problem that is present at or shortly after birth.” If the question on your mind right now is, “Is squint hereditary?” The answer is yes. This condition is called congenital strabismus.
Cross-eyed syndrome may also be due to hyperopia and other medical conditions like Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, and stroke. Astigmatism squint eye is also common, while others may develop the condition due to short-sightedness or long-sightedness. Adult squints can also be caused by Graves disease, botulism, diabetes, eye injuries, and shellfish poisoning. Furthermore, traumatic brain injuries, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and neurological problems may also explain why some adults are cross-eyed.
Available Squint Treatment
There are numerous options for cross-eye correction worth considering based on your or your child’s unique needs. These include:
- Eye muscle surgery- Squint eye surgery can be performed to change the position or length of your eye muscles to correct the misalignment. Squint surgery is suitable for people of all ages. However, the best age for squint surgery for a cross-eyed child is before the age of 7-8, while the visual pathway is yet to complete development.
- Medications like eye drops, ointments, and in some cases, Botox
- Eyeglasses or contact lenses for patients with untreated refractive errors
- Prism lenses can also bend the light that enters the eye to reduce the amount of turning your eye must do to see objects.
- Orthopaedics (eye exercises)
Squint Operation Procedure
Your eye surgeon will hold your eyes open using a tool called a lid spectrum. Sometimes, they may need to hold both eyes open to get the right alignment. For starters, the surgeon removes a bit of the muscle connected to your eye and transfers it to a new position. This way, your eyes can point in the same direction. Then, the surgeon fixes the muscles in their new area with dissolvable stitches hidden behind the eye. The procedure then ends, but more alterations to your eye muscles may be made after you wake up from the operation.
When To Seek Medical Advice For Strabismus
It is advisable to seek advice from a specialist if you develop double vision or a squint later in life. Also, squints in infants less than three months aren’t usually a cause for concern. However, squints in babies older than three months should warrant a visit to your optician. Furthermore, medical advice is worth seeking if you notice your child’s eye suddenly turning in or they have one eye crossed. It is also best to seek medical advice if you notice that your child regularly turns their head to one side or keeps an eye closed when viewing things.
How Common Is Strabismus?
Squints are common, affecting about 1 in 20 children, including babies.
Contact Belson For Eye Tests
If you have a slightly crossed eye or notice an intermittent squint in your child, you can schedule a squint eye examination at Belson & Sons. We can examine you and your baby’s squinting eyes through various effective tests and recommend helpful treatment options.