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Squint in children - causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
This resource will give you a brief description about squint (strabismus), the causes for the development of squint, the symptoms of squint, how to diagnose squint and also the treatment for squint.
In this article I have explained about squint or strabismus, a condition which leads to loss of vision in children. Get to know the causes for squint, the symptoms of squint, how to diagnose squint and also the treatment for squint.
What is a squint?
Squint is a condition in which an eye may turn in or turn out, in other words, the misalignment of the eyes. The medical term for squint is Strabismus. It is often found in children and the parents ignore because they are not aware of this condition. The affected child do not use the eye to see the environment. This is harmful for the eyes since the eye is not utilized fully. So it may lead to visual loss and this condition is called amblyopia, otherwise called as the lazy eye.
Squint is classified into three types, they are as follows:
1. Convergent squint: Also called esotropia.This is a condition in which the right eye turns in.
2. Divergent squint: Also called exotropia. This is a condition in which the left eye turns out.
3. Vertical squint: This is a condition in which the right eye turns upward.
Causes for developing squint
The eye movement is under the control of six muscles, which will help to pull the eye in various directions. For example, for looking toward the left, the lateral rectus muscle of the left eye pulls the left eye outward and the medial rectus of the right eye will pull the right eye inward towards the nose. A squint may develop when there is a imbalance in the working of the eye muscles. There is a loss of coordination between the eye muscles and this may lead to a misalignment, i.e., loss of binocular vision.
This may develop due to the following reasons:
1. Squint may be a birth defect or it may develop after six months.
2. Squint may develop due to hereditary causes, i.e., any blood relation may have a squint.
3. Squint may develop due to cataract of the eyes.
4. Due to poor vision in one eye the brain stops both the eyes to function together.
5. May develop due to refractive errors such as short sight (myopia), long sight (hypermetropia) and astigmatism.
6. May also develop due to other conditions such as cerebral palsy, Noonan syndrome, hydrocephalus, brain injury, and various other conditions.
Symptoms for identifying squint
1. Eyes may not look straight ahead, this is the first and most commonly observed symptom.
2. Newborn babies have a squint because their eyes are not developed fully. It is not a problem till 3 months but after the third month the baby must have the eyes examined with an eye specialist.
3. The baby closes one eye to look at someone.
4. He or she may also turn the head to have a view.
All these indicates that the child is facing a double vision and is a clue that they have a squint. If not treated immediately it may lead to vision loss.
Diagnosis for squint
1. Routine eye check ups should be done to detect eye problems in babies.
2. Routine eye check up is also needed at the pre-school or school-entry to detect the problem.
3. First the child should be taken to an orthoptist, a health professional trained to assess the child with squint. The orthoptist may refer to an ophthalmologist for further assessment and treatment.
Treatment for squint
Each eye will focus on a different object and will send different signals to the brain which may lead to confusion for the child. So it is a must to get treated with an eye specialist. The aim for this treatment is as follows:
1. To preserve vision
2. To restore the vision
3. To straighten the eyes
4. To restore binocular vision
Surgery is the one and only treatment for treating the squint eye. The surgery will depend upon the type and also the severity of the squint. Though the surgery is painful for the child physically and mentally for the parents, it will help to restore the binocular vision and will make the child to lead a healthy life with good vision.
Read related articles: Eye Problems Children diseases
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