A squint is a condition where the eyes point in different directions.
One eye may turn inwards, outwards, upwards or downwards while the other eye looks forward. The medical name for a squint is strabismus.
Squints can also cause:
The most obvious sign of a squint is eyes that look in different directions. Most often, one eye turns inwards (convergent squint) or outwards (divergent squint). In rare cases, it may turn up or down (vertical squint). They can either be apparent at all times (constant), or only be apparent at certain times (intermittent). Minor squints are not always obvious.
The exact cause of a squint is not always known. In most cases, babies are born with a squint or develop one because of a problem with their vision. If a baby is born with the condition, it is called a congenital squint. Squints that develop later are called acquired squints.
Acquired squints are sometimes caused by the eye's inability to focus light that passes through the lens. This is known as a refractive error. Types of refractive errors include:
Although most squints are congenital or caused by refractive errors, in rare cases they are the result of:
Some things may increase the risk of having a squint, which may include:
Different tests can be used to help diagnose a squint and assess the level of vision. These will vary according to your age, but may include:
Other tests may also be needed to determine whether glasses are needed. Retina and optic nerve examination to make sure there are no other problems. In most cases, eye drops will be used to widen the pupils before the eyes are examined. This will make it easier for the ophthalmologist to study the back of the eyes.
Treatments available for squints include: