Worried about Squinting in Children? Here's What You Should Do!

Jun 03, 2019

Do you believe, squinting in children goes off on its own? Well, as a matter of fact, it doesn't. However, as per our experts, squinting in children can be corrected. Let's find out how!

What Is Meant By Squint Eye?

Squint eye, also known as strabismus or crossed eyes, is a condition that majorly affects an individual in childhood. A person with squint eyes seems to be looking in different directions. In other words, it is a condition in which the eyes do not align properly. One eye turns upwards, inwards, downwards, or outwards, while the other one focuses on one spot. The overall prevalence rate of this condition in India is about 4% to 6%. And, it ranges up to 30% to 40% in premature babies.

How to Identify a Squint That's Not Noticeable?

Minor squint signs and symptoms are not noticeable. Look for these signs and analyse the possibilities of a squint.
  • Blurring of vision
  • Headaches and eyes strain
  • Rubbing the eyes
  • Redness, watering, and discharge from the eyes
  • Swelling of the eyelids
  • Sticking of the eyelids
  • Whitish opacity in the eye

Causes

Several factors can cause squint or cross-eyes, including:
  • hereditary: it runs in the family
  • congenital: a child is born with it
  • long-standing illness or viral infections like measles
  • neurological factors like cranial nerve palsy, hydrocephalus, etc.
Eye problems like myopia (short-sightedness), hypermetropia (long sightedness) or astigmatism may also cause squint eyes.

What Options Are Available for Squint Eye Treatment?

Early diagnosis and prompt treatment can help in treating squint eyes. Furthermore, it can also reduce the risk of complications, such as amblyopia, or double vision. Eye specialists say, the younger the patient is, the more likely the treatment to be effective. Most common squint eye treatment options include:
  • Eyepatch: It is worn over the good eye to force the other eye, the one with the squint, to work better.
  • Glasses: If long-sightedness or hypermetropia is causing the squint, glasses are usually used to correct it.
  • Botulinum toxin injection: This treatment is suggested only when no underlying squint eye causes can be identified. The injection is injected into a muscle on the surface of the eye. It temporarily weakens the injected muscle, which helps the eyes to align properly.
  • Eye drops and eye exercises are another way to correct squinting in children.
  • Strabismus Surgery is advised only when other treatments are not effective. The surgery can realign the eyes and repair binocular vision. In some cases, both eyes need to be operated to get the right balance.

Can Exercises Help in Correcting Squint Eyes?

Squinting in children is curable with prescription eyewear & eye surgery. However, certain vision exercises can help in improving coordination. Therefore, combine the following exercises with the squint eye treatment recommended by the doctor for better results.
  • Mirror Gaze
Hold the mirror in front of the child while covering their good eye. This exercise is a combination of patching and gazing. Ask the child to look in the mirror straight from their squint eye. Repeat this several times. After a little break, ask them to try looking at the bridge of their nose. This will help improve coordination. Hold a pencil at an arms distance from their eye. Bring pencil closer towards the eyes and ask them to concentrate until image breaks. Repeat this 15-20 times for two times a day.
  • Finger Focus
Place the index finger about an arms distance away from their eyes. Furthermore, ask them to gently gaze at the tip of the finger for 5-10 seconds. Now, slowly and gradually move the finger closer and closer to their eyes. Repeat this for 3-4 minutes for better results.
  • Brock String Workout
To practice a Brock string exercise, tie one end to an immobile object like a chair. Shift the beads into equal intervals and hold the string up to kid's nose, pulling it tight. Ask them to focus on the bead that's closest to their face. Brock string exercise can boost eye coordination.
  • Palming
This exercise is important for relaxing the eyes after the completion of exercises. Palming has a very calming effect and relaxes the eye muscles. To practice palming, rub the hands vigorously for 15 to 20 seconds. Put the palms over their eyes. This exercise releases tension and improves eyes performance.

Is Squinting in Children Preventable?

There are certain ways parents can help in preventing squint eyes.
  • In-take healthy diet. Increase the number of carrots and spinach in the child's diet. Carrots and spinach help in maintaining healthy vision and keeps the eyes healthy. These two ingredients contain vitamin E, beta-carotene, and zinc that are great for retinal health.
  • Limit their screen time and mobile use. Over-usage of TV or mobile can also cause squinting in children.
  • Blink. Ask the child to relax their eyes frequently. This will ensure the eyes are not strained too much.
The success of squint eyes treatment depends on how early the problem is diagnosed. Children under two years of age who go through treatment usually have the best results. However, with proper care and treatment, positive results can soon be seen in older children.

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