OPHTHALMIC EDUCATION (4) Understanding STRABISMUS [Archives:2000/24/Health]

June 12 2000

What is Strabismus (Syn. Squint)?
It is abnormal eye movements where the affected person uses his/her good eye to concentrate while the affected eye moves inward, outward, upward or downward. About four percent of children are affected of some sort of strabismus.

What are the causes of Strabismus?
There are different causes for strabismus (squint): –
1. Paralytic Squint due to paralysis of one of the nerves supplying the muscles of the eye.
2. Non-paralytic Squint due to long sightedness or it can be congenital (which appears within the first six months of life).

What are the symptoms of Strabismus?
The patient or the parents of the child notice that there is imbalance of ocular motility.

How is Strabismus diagnosed?
The eye doctor will determine if the child has “pseudo-strabismus” or “real strabismus”. Pseudo-strabismus can be diagnosed easily by the eye doctor but he/she has to do all the eye examination required before saying that the child’s eye are normal.
If the strabismus is real the eye doctor will do the eye examination and investigations required detecting the type and cause of the squint. Knowing the type of squint helps the eye doctor to give the correct treatment.

What is the treatment of Strabismus?
The first step is to diagnose the type and cause of the squint
Treatment of amblyopia (lazy eye) after checking the vision of the child. Remember that amblyopia can only be treated before the child is eight years old otherwise it becomes untreatable
Examining the back of the eye (the retina and optic nerve) and checking the eyes for glasses. These tests are performed after putting drops or ointment to dilate the pupils.
Certain types of strabismus need an operation to correct it.

If your child have strabismus, you need to take him/her to your eye doctor for an eye exam as soon as possible.
Amblyopia (lazy eye) can be treated before the child is eight years old otherwise it becomes permanent.
Certain types of strabismus are treated with glasses while others are treated with surgery.

Routine eye exam by an eye specialist is very important. It is your sight and your eyes need every care they deserve.
Mahfouth A Bamashmus FRCSEd, FRCOphth
Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
Ibn-Al-Haitham Clinic
University of Science & Technology, Sana’a