Crossed eye types are scientifically termed as Squint or Strabismus. This is a condition that emerges because of an inadequate balance of the muscles that facilitate eye movement, faulty nerve signals to the eye muscles and focusing problems. If the condition occurs out of balance, the eye may turn in (converge), turn out (diverge) or sometimes turn up or down, hindering the eyes from functioning properly together.
Causes of Squint:
1. Congenital squint
Heredity is one of the major causes for crossed eyes. When a baby is born with a squint, the condition may not be noticeable for a few weeks. In most of such situations, the reason behind is a family history of squint. The eye muscles are normally at defect. If squint is diagnosed, it is important that the baby be referred for further treatment as early as possible.
2. Long sight
Long sight can sometimes lead to a crossed eye type, as the eyes over focus in an attempt to see clearly. In order to avoid double vision, the brain may automatically respond by turning off the image from one eye and turning the eye to avoid using it. If left untreated, a crossed eye may result. The most common age for this type of condition to start is between ten months and two years, but it can occur up to the age of five years. It is usually first noticed when a baby is looking at an object like a toy, or at a later age when a child is concentrating on close work, such as a puzzle or reading.
3. Childhood illnesses
Crossed may occur following an illness such as measles or chickenpox.
4. Nerve damage
5. Blurred or poor vision results due to cataract, corneal scars, glaucoma, refractive errors, optic nerve disease, retinal disease, tumors of the eye etc.
6. Injuries resulting from accidents
Signs and Symptoms of Squint
- One eye or both eyes focus to different or opposite directions
- Defective vision in one eye or both eyes
- Closing one eye in bright sunlight as the patient is not able to focus
- Turning the face or tilting the head in a specific direction in an attempt to use the eyes together
- Occurrence of double vision or confusion
When to consult a doctor
- It is quite common for the eyes of newborn babies or infants to “cross” occasionally, specifically when they are exhausted. However check with the doctor if this is happening to the child after six months of age.
- If the child looks at things with one eye closed or with their head turned to one side, it may mean they are experiencing double vision and could be a sign they have a squint. If this happens continuously, take the child to the doctor as early as possible.
- A specialist can diagnose the condition with various tests. So a routine eye check up is advised during early childhood.
- Eyeglasses or contact lenses – this method may help individuals who have Squint due to an untreated long sight.
- Injected medication –generally known as Botox, this injection relaxes the contracted muscles in the eyes, making it easier for the eyes to focus where they need to focus.
- Patching or covering the better functioning eye – This is similar to eye drops or ointment, this technique works to strengthen the weakened eye.
- Surgery – Straightens and rearranges muscles in the eyes. This method has a high success rate although it is expensive than other techniques.
Squint Surgery Procedure
The first step of the surgery is the administration of anesthesia. This may be a general anesthesia, conscious sedation or local anesthesia. The procedure is usually performed as an outpatient basis (patients come in and go home the same day) and takes up to an hour to perform.
Then the eyelids are held open by a small device called a lid speculum. The doctor incises the conjunctiva to access the eye muscles, and uses a thin hook to separate the muscle. No skin incisions are made. The eyeball is not removed from the eye socket during this surgery.
The surgery has two parts. The first part is called recession in which a suture is placed through the muscle at the attachment site to the eye. The muscle is separated from the surface of the eye and reattached further back from the front of the eye. The second part of the surgery is known as resection. In this step a suture is again fixed through the muscle at the new attachment site. The segment of muscle between the suture and the eyeball is isolated and the shortened muscle is reattached to the eye. This surgery involves stitching the eye muscle to the wall of the eye after altering the insertion position and the length of the muscle. Standard squint surgery uses a permanent knot. Adjustable suture technique uses a bow-knot or slip-knot in an accessible position. After surgery the eye alignment can be changed by adjusting the temporary knot.
Recovering from surgery
It is usual for the white part of the eyes to be red after surgery. It may take few weeks or may be months for the redness to disappear. The eyes are mostly itchy and are irritated upon movement. The pain usually eases after a few days.
A patch is generally placed only if an adjustable suture is used. Some doctors prescribe an antibiotic or combination antibiotic or steroid drop or ointment after surgery for a better recovery. It can take several weeks to month fully recover from the squint surgery.
Cost of squint treatment in India
Cost of Squint Eye Surgery in India is in the range of INR 7,000 to INR 1, 00,000 approximately. The cost of the surgery depends upon the advanced facilities available with various hospitals and clinics. The success rate of the surgery depends majorly on the expertise of the ophthalmologist. The treatment helps an individual to attain a clear vision and also aids in overcoming the embarrassment caused due to it. You can find cost effective centers for squint eye surgery in India here.