Essentially, a squint is an imbalance between the two eyes where they look in different directions. Some people call this condition ‘crossed eyes’ but this may be inaccurate - for instance if a patient has a divergent squint. In most cases one eye will be looking straight while the other eye is pointing in a different direction. The misalignment may be constant or may appear at intervals.
This is one of the most common questions about squints. There are four basic groups of squints, depending on which way the errant eye is pointing: Esotropia - eye turns inwards Exotropia - eye turns outwards Hypertropia - eye turns upwards Hypotropia - eye turns downwards
The most frequent occurrence of squint eyes is in childhood. It may be present at birth and resolve itself later or the condition may persist. In adults, squints may result following illness, an accident or paralysis associated with stroke.
There are no exact answers to this key question about squints. One cause is due to the muscles in the two eyes not working the same way or being coordinated. Sometimes a refractive (spectacle) error within the eye may cause it to deviate inwards or outwards. If the eye has suffered some disease like cataract, this may also cause it to deviate. Children’s eyes should be carefully checked for any other cause of loss of vision.
Parents may notice deviation of the eyes - however this may be considered a squint only after the first few months, since babies’ eyes often align at that time. In the case of slight squints, children may complain of poor eyesight in one eye. Adults may complain of double or blurred/poor vision.
An ophthalmologist is the right specialist to answer any questions about squints and confirm whether there is a problem or not. He or she will run special tests to determine the degree of deviation. It is important to seek early treatment in order to save eyesight and maintain the proper function of the eyes.