Squint or strabismus is a condition when the patient cannot focus with both eyes together. This interferes with binocular vision and hence depth perception.
Usually, a squint runs in the family. It can arise in the first few months of life or even later. Children can develop squint when they have a weak ability to use the eyes together. Apart from the cosmetic appearance that can cause embarrassment and inferiority complex, the misalignment of the eyes means they will lose their ability to work together. This will result in loss of eye co-ordination as the eyes will not achieve binocular vision (3 D vision) as the brain simply ignores signals from the eye that has a squint.
Squint is caused by absence of coordination between the muscles responsible for eye movement. Management consists of correction of refractive errors, patching good eye where the other is lazy, orthoptic treatment and surgery. Treatment should be started as early as possible to ensure good visual acuity and binocular vision.
Surgery brings about alignment of both eyes by shortening, lengthening or changing position of one or more muscles. Surgery is done on outpatient basis under local anaesthesia. Recovery may take about two weeks. General anaesthesia is used when operating on smaller children. Post surgery refractive correction should be continued to maintain good vision and binocularity.