STRABISMUS / SQUINT  

Strabismus or squint is also known as an eye-turn, wandering eye, walled-eye, etc. The main point is that two eyes do not work as a team; therefore they might focus at different points in space at the same time.

CAUSES

TREATMENT

Treatments of strabismus include strategies to realign the eyes and strengthen weak muscles. Vision therapy is used as a form of non surgical treatment for strabismus based on individually created programs in order to stimulate the visual system to function efficiently. The vision therapy sessions are designed to enhance the brain’s ability to control the eye movements and to stabilize them.

 

The emphasis of vision therapy is on eye focusing abilities, ocular alignment (position of the eyes), eye-teaming and visual processing. During the therapy sessions, optical and computer devices are employed and patients' newly acquired visual skills are made automatic through repetition and by integration with motor and cognitive skills.

 

Overall, vision therapy is based on Orthoptics and rehabilitation of the eye–brain connections involved in vision. Clinical research in vision therapy is closely linked with developments in neuroscience throughout the 20th century and that trend continues today. Vision therapy sessions might be conducted initially by the Vision Therapist and followed by prescribed home therapy. The frequency depends on the nature of the strabismus and overall visual status.

 

Certain forms of strabismus are not suitable for vision therapy, and surgical realignment might be the only form of treatment. Please visit the following link to find more about vision therapy and its application in treatment of strabismus: www.visiontherapy.org

Strabismus could be caused by numerous factors, some of them include:

  • Excessive far-sightedness or short-sightedness as well as large difference between the vision of each eye;

  • Improper development of eye muscle coordination in infants or children;

  • Problems with the nerves or muscles that control the eye movement;

  • Brain injury.

 

There are few types of strabismus in terms of the direction where the wandering eye turns:

  • Esotropia or Convergent Strabismus (one eye turns in)

  • Exotropia or Divergent Strabismus (one eye turns out)

  • Hypertopia (one eye turns up)

  • Hypotropia (one eye turns down)

 

In terms of frequency of strabismus it’s classified as:

  • Constant

  • Intermittent

Vision Therapy Tools

The symptoms associated with the position of the eyes vary, it depends on the onset of strabismus and nature of it; intermittent or constant. If strabismus occurs in early childhood (either constant or intermittent) double vision will not be a symptom since a child below the age of 7 years is able to suppress the image coming from one eye very fast, sometimes even in hours. On the other hand they could have a Lazy Eye as a consequence of deprivation of visual stimulation of that eye.

 

However if the squint is intermittent in nature, the child might be experiencing symptoms such as intermittent double vision or confusion.

 

Most of the time kids are not able to explain what is going on or they explain in very literal ways not understandable to parents or teachers. Little Mathew (4 years old) was saying that his eyes had a heart attack every time one of his eyes drifted out. Lots of times the major complaint would be tired eyes, frequent frontal headaches, blurred vision, frequent blinking or a tendency to close one eye.

 

Onset of strabismus after the age of 7 years is often associated with double vision. Symptoms include tired eyes, frequent frontal headaches, blurred vision, frequent blinking, dry eyes and an overall tiredness. The majority of these patients will complain that they feel disintegrated when the squint occurs. This group of patients, in most cases, spend long hours in front of their computer screens, tablets, smart-phones etc. Particularly acute groups are teenagers and young professionals.

 

Besides the above mentioned symptoms and aesthetic factors, strabismus could cause even more obstacles in day to day life:

  • Difficulty reading

  • Difficulty catching a ball and overall poor eye-hand coordination

  • Underdeveloped ability to judge distance or to localize how objects are positioned in space

  • Difficulty focusing on visual tasks and sustaining visual attention

  • Difficulty establishing eye contact and sustaining it

  • Difficulty driving and parking a car

 
 
 

SYMPTOMS

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