A squint is a condition where the eyes do not look together in the same direction. Whilst one eye looks straight ahead, the other eye turns to point inwards, outwards, upwards or downwards. Squints are common and affect about 1 in 20 children.
You might even spot that your baby has a squint. Most squints develop before preschool age, usually by the time a child is three years old. Sometimes squints develop in older children, or in adults.
About 5 in 100 children aged five years old have a squint. It is quite common to notice a brief squint when tired or daydreaming. Babies sometimes cross their eyes-it is quite normal for this to happen occasionally, especially when they are tired. Some squints are much more obvious than others. You might notice your child has an eye that does not look straight ahead. Another sign of squint is that your child might close one eye when looking at you, or turns his or her head on one side.
The medical name for squint is strabismus. It is a condition where the eyes do not look in the same direction. Whilst one eye looks forwards to focus on an object, the other eye turns either inwards, outwards, upwards or downwards. Most squints occur in young children. A child with a squint may stop using the affected eye to see with. This can lead to visual loss called amblyopia, which can become permanent unless treated early in childhood. This treatment involves patching the good eye, to force the use of the affected eye. Sometimes surgery is needed to correct the appearance of a squint.
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