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Disprove Myths and learn Facts about Squint

DR KIRTI VERMA In Child's eye care

Nov 24, 2023 | 5 min read

Squint, medically known as strabismus, is a condition where the eyes do not align properly. Despite being a common eye condition, squint often carries a plethora of myths and misconceptions.

In a person with squint, the eyes point in different directions. While one eye may be looking straight ahead, the other may turn inward, outward, upward, or downward. This misalignment can be constant or intermittent and may affect one or both eyes.

This condition can appear in various forms

  • Esotropia: One eye turns inward.
  • Exotropia: One eye turns outward.
  • Hypertropia: One eye turns upward.
  • Hypotropia: One eye turns downward.

Squint can occur at any age, and its causes are multifaceted. Some common factors include:

  • Enetics: A family history of squint can increase the likelihood of developing the condition.
  • Refractive errors: Unequal vision or the need for glasses can contribute to squint.
  • Muscle imbalance: Weakened or imbalanced eye muscles can result in misalignment.
  • Neurological issues: Problems with the nerves controlling eye muscles can lead to squint.
  • Health conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders, can be associated with squint.

Squint can have implications beyond the cosmetic aspect. When the eyes are misaligned, the brain may receive conflicting visual signals, leading to issues such as double vision and reduced depth perception. If left untreated, squint can potentially result in amblyopia or “lazy eye,” where the brain starts to ignore signals from one eye, leading to reduced vision in that eye.

Treatment for squint depends on the underlying cause and may include:

  • Glasses: Corrective lenses can help manage refractive errors contributing to squint.
  • Vision therapy: Eye exercises and activities to improve coordination and strengthen eye muscles.
  • Patch therapy: Occluding the stronger eye to encourage the use and strengthening of the weaker eye.
  • Surgery: In cases where muscle imbalance is significant, surgical intervention may be necessary to align the eyes properly.

Early detection and intervention are essential for successful treatment of squint, and regular eye examinations are crucial, especially in children, to identify and address any vision issues promptly. If you suspect a squint or notice any changes in eye alignment, it is important to consult with an eye care specialist for a comprehensive eye examination and appropriate management.

Common Misconceptions About Squint

  • Squint is always noticeable: While a misalignment of the eyes is the hallmark of squint, it’s not always visually apparent. Some individuals may have a latent or intermittent squint, meaning the misalignment occurs only under certain conditions, such as fatigue or when focusing on a close object. Therefore, a squint might not always be immediately noticeable.
  • Squint is always present from birth: Although some cases of squint do manifest in infancy or early childhood, it can develop at any age. Adult-onset squint can be caused by various factors, including trauma, neurological conditions, or certain health issues. Regular eye check-ups are essential for early detection and timely intervention.
  • Squint is caused by watching too much TV or using electronic devices: While excessive screen time can contribute to eye strain and discomfort, it does not directly cause squint. Squint is primarily a result of a miscommunication between the eye muscles and the brain. Genetic factors, refractive errors, and other underlying health issues play a more significant role in the development of squint.
  • Squint can be corrected by exercises alone: While eye exercises and vision therapy can be beneficial in some cases, they are not a standalone solution for correcting squint. The treatment approach depends on the underlying cause of the condition and may involve glasses, surgery, or a combination of therapies. It is crucial to consult with an eye care professional for a personalized treatment plan.
  • Squint only affects the eyes’ appearance, not vision: Beyond the cosmetic aspect, squint can impact vision and depth perception. When the eyes are not aligned, the brain receives conflicting visual information, leading to potential issues like double vision and reduced stereopsis (depth perception). Timely intervention is essential to prevent long-term visual impairment.
  • Squint can’t be treated in adults: Squint in adults is treatable, and intervention can significantly improve alignment and visual function. The treatment may involve corrective lenses, vision therapy, or surgery, depending on the specific case. Adults experiencing any change in eye alignment should consult an eye care professional promptly.

Conclusion

Disproving myths about squint is crucial for promoting awareness and understanding of this common eye condition. While squint can be a concern, it is important to approach it with accurate information and seek professional guidance for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. By debunking misconceptions, we can ensure that individuals with squint receive the care they need to maintain healthy vision and overall eye health.

Along with this condition, all eye conditions both minor and major, are extremely sensitive and require immediate attention. The most effective and secure way to prevent such problems is with an annual eye health examination. Thus, schedule an appointment once a year to your eye doctor.

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