Envision Eye Clinic

Strabismus / Squint / Crossed Eyes

What is Strabismus

Strabismus is a vision problem in which both eyes are not in alignment with each other. Though it is a common condition among younger populations, affecting 2 to 4 percent of children, adults may also develop the condition.

What causes Strabismus

Strabismus tends to run in the families but may be caused by any of the following:

Adults may develop strabismus from eye or blood vessel damage. Loss of vision, an eye or brain tumor, Graves' disease, stroke, and various muscle and nerve disorders can also cause strabismus in an adult.

How is Strabismus diagnosed?

The most common visible sign of Strabismus is an eye that is not straight. Sometimes, a youngster will squint or close one eye in bright sunlight. Faulty depth perception may be present. Some children turn their faces or tilt their heads in a specific direction in order to use their eyes together. The child sometimes experiences double vision or confusion.
Children do not outgrow strabismus! It is important to consult a Pediatric Ophthalmologist if your child displays these symptoms to determine the appropriate therapy.

How is it treated?

The goals of treatment are to preserve vision, straighten the eyes and to restore binocular vision. Treatment of squint depends on the exact cause of the misaligned eyes. It can be directed towards unbalanced muscles or other conditions which are causing the eyes to point in two different directions. After a complete eye examination, including a detailed study of the inner parts of the eye, an ophthalmologist can recommend appropriate optical, medical or surgical therapy.
Nearly 40% patients with squint can be cured by spectacles and/or eye exercises. However, a large majority require surgical treatment. The squint operations are very safe and should be done at the earliest. Generally if the eyes are not aligned for more than 6 months in a child, irreversible damage to the three dimensional vision occurs, which is only partly reversible. Squint surgeries are performed successfully even in children as young as 4 months. 

Non-surgical treatment – Spectacles and Prisms

Some squints are caused by refractive errors. In such cases, squint can be corrected by prescribing proper spectacles. In adult patients double vision caused by small squints can be corrected by incorporating prisms in the spectacles.

Surgical treatment

Most patients require surgical correction. Surgery is done under general anaesthesia in children and under local anaesthesia in cooperating adults. To undergo general anaesthesia the child should be free from acute illness. Parents should inform the doctor if the child is having any systemic problems such as cardiac disease or epilepsy.

The treatment does not stop with surgery. Glasses may have to be continued to maintain clarity of vision. Patching therapy may be needed to be continued for some time after the surgery.


Having straight eyes is a valuable asset that the patient deserves.

Apart from vision problems, misaligned eyes can get in the way of normal eye-to-eye contact, communication skills and social interaction. Many patients report reduced self-confidence and find that they often avoid eye contact by looking away or downwards during a normal conversation with another person. The other person also may be uncertain which eye the patient is using and may be distracted from what the patient is trying to communicate. This impairment of communication skills can be detrimental to social and economic opportunities. Strabismus repair is not a "cosmetic" procedure but should more appropriately be considered reconstructive. After eye alignment surgery, most children and many adults improve eye function and may report improved confidence in social and business engagements.