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Squint in Children: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment 

squint in children

Out of our five sense organs, eyes tend to be the most sensitive and delicate ones. They help us to see and appreciate this wonderful world. Parents have to be very particular regarding the uninterrupted growth of the sense organs in their child. A slightest trouble in the child’s eyes can be a cause of great worry. 

Squint in children is one such eye disorder that must be addressed as soon as it is detected. While many parents get their child’s eyes monitored (checked up regularly) from infanthood, others do it later on observing any sort of abnormality. 

So, parents of young children and new parents must understand the disorders associated with eyes.  

Squint: Explained

In order to have a clear vision, both our eyes should look at the target (object) together.

Squint refers to that condition of eyes in which both the eyes cannot look in the same direction at the same time. One eye focuses on the target (what is to be seen) while the other may turn inward, outward, upward or may be downward. In simple words, squint is a misalignment of the two eyes.

When a squint is present, the eyes point in different directions and the brain is unable to process two separate images and fail to produce a clear image. This leads to poor vision and loss of understanding about the distance of the object.

Pediatric squint is most common in the age of 6 months to 3 years. However, it may appear at a later age also.

It is common to notice intermittent squint in newborn babies, and this reduces as the baby reaches two to four months of age with proper vision development.

Causes of Squint in Children

The most common causes of development of squint in children are-

1.Refractive Error (spectacle number) : poor vision due to high number of spectacles may cause squint in many cases .

2 Malfunctioning of Extraocular muscles : The eye movement coordination is done by six muscles. These extraocular muscles need to work together for the proper functioning of the eyes. When any of these muscles malfunction, it makes the working of the eye very difficult, leading to squint.

3 Disease of eyes: Cataract, retinopathy of prematurity, abnormal blood vessels, tumor lead to poor vision, which may cause squint of eyes.

    4 Brain Disorders : Several type of brain disorders also lead to childhood strabismus child, such as-cerebral palsy, brain tumors, down’s syndrome (a condition that affects mental and physical development) and fluid accumulation in the brain.

      Symptoms of Squinted Eyes in Kids 

      New parents and parents of young kids have to be very alert and should monitor their child for these symptoms to detect squint at an early age- 

      • If the eyes do not move in alignment (i.e look in different directions) 
      • If the child needs to get very close to objects to see or read books 
      • If the child is unable to estimate the right distance of the objects (depth perception) 
      • Closing or squinting one eye in bright sunlight 
      • Defective vision in both the eyes or in a single eye. 
      • Confusions in visualization and double vision. 
      • A child tilting or turning their head  too much  
      • Eyestrain and headaches, feeling tired when reading or inability to read comfortably. 

        How Squint Affects a Child?

        Parents must understand that common eye problems found in children may become a serious challenge for the child later on.

        They must know that squint is self diagnosable but not self curable. If this condition is not treated on time, it might lead to severe consequences like vision loss.

        A child who develops squint in his/her eyes is likely to face the following problems-

        1 Lazy eye (poor vision) : child may have poor vision in squinting eye , as brain does not use the image from squinting eye .

            2.NO STEREOPSIS: Inability to see the object due to the inability of the brain to cast a proper 3 dimensional image.

            3 Discomfort in doing day-to-day tasks especially, reading, playing, focusing on the blackboard etc.

            4 Lowered self confidence.


            While diagnosing squint, the doctor first analyzes whether the squint is primary (by birth) or secondary (due to some brain disorders) and then decides upon the squint eye treatment in child.

            A strabismus can be easily diagnosed by an individual himself or his/her parents. The symptoms of this problem are very much visible and can be interpreted easily.

            Any child who is diagnosed with strabismus should be referred to an ophthalmologist for further assessment.

            There are few tests that are used to screen for strabismus.

            1. Complete eye check up : to rule out any number of specs or any other disease in eyes.
            2. Orthoptic evaluation: it measure stereopsis , measurement of extraocular muscles and degree of squint.


            Regular eye check-ups are the best way to detect strabismus. Early childhood diagnosis gives a better chance of ensuring good vision of the child and improves his/her depth perception (assessment of distance of an object).

            Squint correction is based on the causes and symptoms of squint eyes in children. The ophthalmologist will prescribe the solution that best meets the age of the child and his/her convenience-

            1. Glasses: If a child who faces the problem of far sightedness also develops the problem of squint. In such a case, the squint is treated with the help of glasses.
            1. Eye Patches : Eye patches are used when there is a need to correct the problem of lazy eye (when one eye fails to work due to poor muscle functioning and does not coordinate with the other eye). An eye patch is used on the good eye to force the lazy eye to work in coordination.
            1. Eye Exercises : Eye exercises are recommended by the doctor to help strengthen those muscles which control the eye movement.
            1. Eye Surgery : Sometimes squint correction is done by surgery. In this surgery extraocular muscles adjustment is done to correct squint. squint surgery is safe, it does not have any bad effect on vision of eyes.

            A watch on the early signs and symptoms of this problem are the best way to sure it in consultation with a children’s eye specialist.

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