About Squint

How does squint affect people?

People who have squint know how much their squint can affect their lives. Unfortunately, many other people – even doctors and opticians – don’t realise how important a condition squint is. Only you really know how much your squint affects your quality of life. There are two main ways that squints can affect people. You may suffer from both issues or just one.

Firstly, for some people their squint causes problems with their vision. Normally this means they see double. For example, when looking at a road sign, they would see two road signs, a real one and another image next to it. For other people, objects from their side vision get in the way of what they are trying to look at. Double vision can be very troublesome in daily life. It can affect reading, work, hobbies and sports and often means you can’t drive. Fortunately, surgery can often help with double vision, allowing people to resume normal activities.

Secondly, squints can affect your self-confidence. If you have a squint you probably think a lot of how it looks to other people – at home, at work, when socialising, or just out and about. You may feel very nervous about looking people in the eye in case they notice there’s something wrong with your eyes. You may lack confidence when meeting people for the first time, or doing a presentation in front of colleagues or clients. It may affect your personal life, in terms of making relationships. It impacts on your self-image and your self-esteem.

Many people with squints feel very embarrassed about their eyes. Some feel so embarrassed they try to avoid seeing a specialist for treatment. But when people do have successful treatment, the change in their self-confidence is often amazing. You can read more about how people’s lives have been changed by squint surgery later on in this guide.

We would recommend that you don’t feel shy about seeking a specialist opinion on your squint. It may be that something can be done to help you. Many people leave off treatment for years, then when they finally get it done, they often say: “Why on earth did I not get this done earlier?” No matter how bad you feel your squint is, there are squints which are worse than yours and many have been treated successfully.


How can squint be treated?

The simple answer to this question for most people is yes! There are a few options that may be on offer to help you with your squint.

For some people with a very mild squint which doesn’t really affect them in their daily lives, it may be best to leave things alone. Some squints are really too small to be noticed by other people and treating them may not be the best thing to do.

But if you’re thinking about squint treatment, then your squint probably does affect your life. For a small number of people, their squint can be helped by glasses alone. This is normally the case for people who are long-sighted in whom glasses relax their eyes and allow the eyes to go straight.

Some people may benefit from botulinum toxin injections (Botox) for their squint. Not many people know that long before Botox was used for cosmetic purposes, it was used for treating squint. By injecting botulinum toxin into one of the eye muscles, you can cause a change in the position of the eye. This can lead to an improvement in a squint. The injection is done with the patient awake, sitting in a chair, with local anaesthetic drops. It takes only a few minutes. The problem with botulinum toxin for treating squint is that is not a permanent treatment. The effect only lasts about 3-4 months and then the treatment has to be repeated, again and again. It is a good treatment for people who can’t undergo surgery for whatever reason but for most people who want a long-term solution, surgery is a better option. You can learn more about squint surgery later on in this guide.

Many patients ask about eye exercises to cure squint. There are many websites and some doctors that claim that you can cure squints by following a plan of exercises for your eye muscles. It is safe to say that eye exercises probably don’t do any harm so if you want to try them, there should be no problem. But it is also fair to say that there is very little evidence that they do anything to cause a long-term treatment for almost all types of squint. There are one of two exceptions to this, where exercises do make a difference, but most people will find exercises don’t really improve their squint.


Can I be treated?

The main question you may have is whether your squint can be helped by surgery. You may have been told by your optician or doctor that you can’t have surgery. You may have even heard it from an eye doctor.

Sometimes this is true but there are many people who are given bad advice. They are told they can’t have squint surgery even when actually they can. They therefore miss out on the benefits squint surgery can bring to their lives.

In simple terms, if you fulfil the following conditions you can have squint surgery:

  • you have a squint that affects your daily life
  • your squint is large enough to be noticeable
  • your eye tissues are healthy enough to undergo surgery

Previous surgery is not a bar to surgery in most cases. Even people who have had multiple operations earlier in life can still undergo and benefit from squint surgery.

Age is not a problem. You can have squint surgery any time in your adult life, from your teens to your 90s. If you didn’t have squint surgery as a child or a young adult, you haven’t missed the boat.

Medical problems are not normally a problem. With the right anaesthetist and a choice of general or local anaesthetic, very few people from our clinic are refused surgery on medical grounds.

For all surgery, the decision to go ahead is based on you weighing up what you hope to gain from the surgery, the chances of success, and the risks of complications from the surgery. It is sometimes a very easy decision to make. Sometimes it is not an easy decision. With the right squint specialist, you will be given all the information you need to come to the decision that is best for you. You may have fears about surgery but still know it’s the right thing to do. This is completely natural. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have any concerns at their squint.

What is squint?

Squint is a medical condition affecting the eyes. When a person has a squint, one of their eyes does not point in the right direction. The squinting eye could be turned inwards towards the nose, or outwards, or even upwards or downwards. The squint may be there all the time or only some of the time. The person may be able to control the squint a bit or may have no control over it at all. The squint could affect only one eye, or it could switch between the two eyes. Often a squint occurs in a lazy eye, which is an eye with poor vision from childhood. But squints can also occur in healthy eyes with good vision. Squints can come on in childhood, or can appear in adult life. Most squints don’t have a serious cause, but rarely they can be caused by an important medical condition. The other name doctors use for squint is strabismus. The public also have other terms that are used for squint e.g. cross-eye, lazy eye, boss eye, wall eye. In the box are some of the medical terms we use to describe different types of squint – you may have heard one of these mentioned about your eyes.

  • Exotropia – an outward turn of an eye
  • Intermittent Exotropia – an outward turn that is only there some of the time
  • Exophoric – an outward drift that is mostly controlled by the brain
  • Esotropia – an inward turn in the eye
  • Intermittent Esotropia – an inward turn that is only there some of the time
  • Esophoria – an inward drift that is mostly controlled by the brain
  • Accommodative Esotropia – an inward turn of the eye that glasses may help
  • Convergence Weakness – a problem keeping the eyes together for near things
  • Convergence Spasm – a problem relaxing the eyes which often gives eye strain
  • Hypertropia – where one eye is higher than the other
  • Hypotropia – when one eye is lower than the other
  • Duane Syndrome – a problem from birth with horizontal eye movements
  • Brown Syndrome – a problem from birth with looking up and inwards
  • Sixth Nerve Palsy – a problem with one of the nerves from the brain to the eye
  • Fourth Nerve Palsy – a problem with one of the nerves from the brain to the eye
  • About Squint

    People who have squint know how much their squint can affect their lives. Unfortunately, many other people – even doctors and opticians – don’t realise how important a condition squint is.

    » Learn More

  • Squint Surgery

    The main goal of squint surgery is to give you confidence to live your life without a squint getting in the way. Different people are affected in different ways, and so the goals of surgery are unique to each person.

    » Learn More

  • About Mr Ali

    Nadeem Ali is one of just a few surgeons in the world who is 100% focused on squint surgery in adults. He is a Consultant Adult Squint Surgeon at the world famous Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.

    » Learn More

  • Why Go Self-Pay?

    You may have medical insurance and use it frequently. Or you may never have used private healthcare before. It is important to know that there are three levels of health care in the UK including private self-pay.

    » Learn More

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