In children, it is often important to treat a squint (eye turn) as soon as possible after being detected. If it is not treated, vision problems, such as those caused by a lazy eye (amblyopia), are likely to get worse or could become permanent.
Treatment is most effective in very young children.
There are also treatment options available to improve the appearance of the squint and your suitability for this can be discussed with one of our ophthalmologists.
Types of treatment include:
Glasses are one of the most common treatments for squints. They can be used to correct the refractive errors that may be causing the squint, such as:
- Short-sightedness (myopia)
- Long-sightedness (hyperopia)
To prevent the development of a lazy eye (amblyopia) “patching”, or covering the good eye is a commonly used treatment. The patching encourages the “lazy” eye to work harder and helps improve vision. For this treatment, your child may wear the patch for a set amount of hours per day or for specific tasks (e.g. reading) and this will be prescribed by your ophthalmologist. There are different types of patching methods available and these include:
- A fabric eye patch (which can be placed over the glasses)
- A stick on patch which is safe to use directly on the skin
- Eye drops which dilate the pupil to blur the vision in the good eye.
Eye patches are most effective if they are worn before a child is eight years of age.
In some cases, it may be possible to treat a squint using special eye exercises that strengthen the eye muscles and help the eyes work together.
Botox injections may be a treatment option for some types of squint.
It is injected into one of the muscles that move the eye. The injection temporarily weakens the muscle, allowing the eyes to realign (straighten). This can help improve the appearance of the squint and may prevent the development of a “lazy” eye.
The effects of Botox usually last around three months. After this, the eyes may stay in the correct position or they may need ongoing treatment.
Surgery can be used to improve the alignment of the eyes (and therefore their appearance), and to help the eyes work together.
The surgery can involve either strengthening or weakening one or more eye muscles in one or both eyes. Your ophthalmologist will discuss your suitability for this procedure and the associated risks with you.