A condition where eyes do not align properly is termed as squint or strabismus. This condition is permanent and persists, or it could be intermittent. This primarily occurs due to malfunctioning of muscles that controls the eye movement. This could also happen due to a brain disorder. Depth perception is difficult for people suffering with depth perception.
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Type of Squint correction
- When the eye turns upwards, it is termed as Hypertropia
- When the eye turns downwards, it is termed as Hypotropia
- When the eye turns inwards, it is termed as Esotropia
- When the eye turns outwards, it is termed as Exotropia
Symptoms of squint correction
The problems that can lead to strabismus are
- Myopia, or short-sightedness
- Hypermetropia, or long-sightedness
- Astigmatism, where the cornea is not curved properly
An early diagnosis of strabismus shall enable more effective treatment. While treatment up to the age of 6 years is believed to be most effective, strabismus can be treated at any time.
Strabismus is normally either present at birth or it develops in the first 6 months after birth.
Sometimes a squint that was treated successfully in childhood returns later in adulthood
Diagnosis and treatment
Younger patients show early quick symptoms of effective treatment.
- Glasses: If hypermetropia, or long-sightedness, is causing the squint, glasses can usually correct it.
- Eye patch: Worn over the good eye, a patch can get the other eye, the one with the squint, to work better.
- Botulinum toxin injection, or botox: this is injected into a muscle on the surface of the eye. The doctor may recommend this treatment if no underlying cause can be identified, and if signs and symptoms appear suddenly. The botox temporarily weakens the injected muscle, and this can help the eyes to align properly.
- Eye drops and eye exercises may help.
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Surgery involves moving the muscles attached to the outside of the eye to a new position. It may be necessary to operate on both eyes to balance them, even if the squint is only in one eye.
The operation is carried out either under general anaesthetic and usually takes less than an hour to perform. It is carried out as a day case, so the patient can go home the same day.
During the operation, the eye will be kept open using an instrument called a lid speculum. The ophthalmologist (eye care specialist) will detach one part of the muscle connected to the eye and will either move it backwards to weaken the pulling effect, or shorten it to increase the pulling effect. Once the correction has been made, the muscles will be sewn back into place using dissolvable stitches.
RISK OF SURGERY
As with any kind of operation, there is a risk that problems will arise due to surgery to fix a squint. If you or your child are having surgery for a squint, ask your eye care specialist to discuss the possible risks with you before the operation.
It can take several weeks to fully recover from corrective eye surgery. After surgery, you may have a sore eye for a few days. The pain can be treated using simple painkillers. Children under 16 years of age should not be given aspirin. If the pain does not improve, speak to your eye care specialist.
Following eye surgery, a pad may be put over the affected eye, which will usually be removed before you are discharged from hospital. There is no need to wear a patch or bandage at home and you can return to daily activities, such as reading, as soon as you feel able to.