Strabismus,is also called a ‘squint’ or ‘cross eyes’. It is a condition in which the eyes do not work together, so they are not ‘aligned’ in all positions of gaze. This is particularly noticeable when the eyes are not straight when looking directly ahead.
There are may types of strabismus, which can be broken down into many ‘sub-groups’, depending on the direction the eyes looks or an underlying cause.
The squint can appear to change, which often leads to confusion, particularly in small babies. A thorough check is relatively quick and painless and a single examination can exclude underlying problems in many cases.
Strabismus may also present ‘latently’ this is when it is possible to control the squint some of the time. This is often managed conservatively (no surgery) unless it is causing severe symptoms.
In children, if the eyes are not aligned, ‘amblyopia’ or a ‘lazy eye’ may develop. Adult patients may have eye strain symptoms or double vision
In many cases of strabismus, there is no associated underlying cause, but it is very important to have a thorough examination and occasionally organise some further investigations to exclude important and rarely a serious underlying problem.
The management of strabismus is a very individual process, which varies depending on the cause, symptoms and age of the patients. This may be a simple prescription of glasses or may involve a surgical procedure to move the muscles and align the eyes.
If surgery is needed, Ms Wren is very careful to ensure that every other potential management option has been explored and the timing of the surgery depends on whether observation is required to exclude and change, or potentially improve in the condition.