The treatment of squints, muscle failure and diplopia (double vision) is mainly carried out in secondary care, but there are Optometrists specializing in muscle training and treatments for lazy eyes. (amblyopia).
Squints as they are popularly called (more cruelly football eyes, one at home and one away) are known as a Strabismus. Commonly found as the eye is developing around 2 to 3 years of age they are usually convergent, (one eye turning in) and are often caused by a refractive error (either both or one eye is/are long sighted) or by one eye’s vision being dramatically uncorrected compared to the other. (Anisometropia).
Often if found out early in life these can be corrected and the squint corrected without surgery. Earlier squints in babies are not uncommon and need expert assessment as early as possible. Squints can be caused by poor muscle or ligament control which will need surgery and later in life can be caused by trauma or earlier unsuccessful squint surgery. These will often affect only one eye or will have a divergent mode.(one eye looking outwards).
Squints can be caused by sight threatening or health disorders including tumors and brain related disorders and these will often first show themselves as double vision in certain directions of gaze.
False Squints or missed squints
Babies are often born with a broad bridge of the nose and a fold of skin around the inner eye known as an epicanthus. As the eye travels in extreme gaze to the left or the right it will part disappear behind this nasal flap and appear to look as if a squint is present. However this phenomenon is often used as a reason not to refer for further investigation and in our experience many early squint cases are missed because of this syndrome. Ask an expert, your optometrist, who can recognise squints easily and refer you on for further help.
Children going to school for the first time
Now more than ever at this stage of a child’s development should you take your child to an optometrist for a free test as it is now that eyes will be under great usage and is there is an error in one eye you and your child will not know about it. Leaving one eye to cabbage while the other is used will create a lazy eye (amblyopia) which is uncorrectable after eye development has taken place.