Squints (strabismus)

A squint or strabismus is present when the two eyes are not looking in the same direction. It may be apparent all the time or only when a patient is tired, unwell or focusing on either a near or distant object.
It affects mainly children under the age of seven but can also affect adults as a long standing or recurring problem, or following a nerve palsy.
Children suspected of a squint should be seen promptly by an eye specialist. No child is too young to be seen.
The appointment will take up to an hour as your child will have their eyesight checked, possibly other measurements taken and then drops put in their eyes. The drops can take up to forty minutes to work. 
The doctor can then accurately check the eye focus and health and prescribe glasses if necessary. 
If your child does have an eye problem, then they will need regular checks until they are approximately seven when their eye and brain connections start to mature.
In adults a squint from a nerve palsy may improve on its own and treatment may be delayed until the squint has stabilised.
Your initial appointment may take up to an hour and you will have measurements taken of your eyes and possibly your pupils dilated. The doctor may also request some additional tests i.e.blood tests to decide what may be causing the squint.
In both children and adults, surgical correction of the squint may be necessary. This usually involves a general anaesthetic. In the procedure, the muscles involved are repositioned to correct the alignment.

This page was last updated at 10:22AM on November 17, 2021.