Squint’ is a misalignment of eyes where both eyes point in different directions, commonly known as cross-eyes. Parents consider squint as a harmless cosmetic blemish, little do they know that uncorrected squint over a period of time reduces vision in the squinting eye, and can cause permanent visual impairment of one eye. In our society a lot of misinformation is associated with cross-eyes such as children with cross-eyes bring luck to their family, or that a squint correction is just a cosmetic procedure. Almost all of these claims are unscientific and based on hearsay. If squint is not identified and appropriately treated in early childhood, it can lead to a condition called amblyopia or lazy eye, which eventually leads to permanent vision loss in squinting eyes, a child with untreated squint fails to develop binocular single vision which is a prerequisite for many educational courses and occupational branches in current era.
Correction of squint is a must. This is because often a visible physical abnormality can have psychological impact on a child, compounded by peers who tease. In addition to being valuable for vision, the correction often changes the behavior of children. We have seen children blossom from an introverted personality to a bright, chirpy child once squint is corrected.
The procedure for correction is not a major treatment. A child with a squint needs a pediatric eye specialist to screen him or her to provide an appropriate treatment at an age before it becomes just a cosmetic problem. Parents need to understand that not all squints need surgery. Some will need just a spectacle correction or eye exercises to strengthen the muscles which move the eyeballs. Surgery if needed is just a day-care procedure without a need for hospitalization. Surgery leaves no visible scar, and is a safe and effective procedure.
One in fifty children have problems with eye alignment. No squint corrects by itself, no child overgrows squint. If untreated at the right time, it can result in permanent visual impairment of squinting eyes.