Squint: a condition where the eyes are not aligned in the same direction

Squint also known as malugannu in Kannada and kanepana in Marathi is a condition where the eyes are not aligned in the same direction, this can be seen throughout the day or only seen sometimes, in one or alternating between two eyes.

Squint can be present since birth or acquired later in life. It arises due to an incorrect balance of muscles, refractive error, childhood illnesses, nerve palsy, and several other reasons. It can also be hereditary.

Many people think that squint is a permanent condition and cannot be corrected. But the truth is that eyes can be straightened at any age.

If the squint is suspected in babies and children, then it is necessary to evaluate at the earliest even if it is hereditary. The reason being, usually eye with decreased vision has a squint. The child needs to be evaluated for vision and if required spectacles are given. If left untreated not only does the eye deviate but also becomes a lazy Eye (Amblyopia).

Lazy eye (amblyopia) is treatable if appropriate glasses and exercises are taught within 3-5 years of age. We have an eye gym where children with lazy eye and squint are made to do eye exercises on machines. We give a few exercises to be done at home also. As the child grows it becomes difficult to completely treat amblyopia, but not impossible.

Some types of squints can be corrected with spectacles alone. Rest require surgery to make the eyes straight

If the squint is corrected at an appropriate time (within 3-5 yrs of age) results can be very good and 3D vision can developed. After this age squint correction is mainly done for cosmetic reasons.