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Squinting is an eye condition wherein both eyes cannot focus on the object at the same time. This kind of vision is commonly termed as “crossed” and squint eyes are medically known as strabismus.

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Symptoms associated with squinting

The eyes point at different direction. The individual’s one eyeball might turn inward while the other outward, so there’s misalignment in vision.

Other symptoms associated with squinting are:

  • Double vision
  • Blurry vision
  • Tiredness in eyes
  • Refractive errors
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Lazy eye or amblyopia

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What causes squinting?

Squint eyes are present by birth and it gets detected very early.

Risk factors for squint eyes in children include:

  • Family history
  • Down syndrome
  • Premature birth

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Squinting occurs when your eye muscles fail to control eye movement, as a result the brain cannot understand the signals and your eyes get misaligned. If your child already has a vision problem, then he/she can acquire it later in an attempt of the eyes trying to correct the problem.

Development of squint eyes is uncommon in adults and it can be a result of an unnatural incidence like:

  • Head injury
  • Stroke
  • Disorder in nerves
  • Blood vessel damage in eyes
  • Tumour in eyes
  • Down syndrome

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When to see a doctor?

Your doctor might suggest eye check up when your baby is just few weeks or months old. However, you should get a screening test done at 3 years of age i.e. preschool age.

Diagnosis of squinting

Eye specialists can easily figure out squint by merely looking at the eyes. Nonetheless, your child needs to undergo a comprehensive eye exam which includes:

  • Visual acuity tests
  • Slit-lamp examination
  • Retinal exam
  • Cover/uncover eye test

The aforementioned tests are performed to rule out an underlying eye problem apart from squinting. Refractive errors, light sensitivity, etc. will get detected with those tests.

Brain function and neurological tests might be suggested, depending upon the need.

Treatment for squinting

Most children with squint eyes do suffer from refractive errors. Therefore, eye doctors usually prescribe corrective eye glasses to adjust short-sightedness, long-sightedness or astigmatism.

Giving botulinum toxin injection is one of the treatment option to enable the eye muscles to have proper control of eye movement. The injection has some side effects which will be explained by your doctor.

Squint surgery may be advised by your doctor with the purpose of improving the alignment and balance of the eyes.

How to help your child cope with squinting?

  • Your kid might be suffering from low self esteem due to the problem with his eyes. Help him to motivate his confidence and lead a normal life.
  • Make sure your kid is performing the eye exercises daily as suggested by the doctor
  • Keep a check that  your kid is wearing the glasses regularly and is not having problem with them
  • Ask your kid to splash the eyes often with clean water to get rid of tiredness and strain
  • Do not forget to explain your kid to be careful about falling or bumping onto thing/people while walking or playing

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: February 23, 2016