Children: Squinting eyes is not just a blemish

Children: Squinting eyes is not just a blemish

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Squint should be treated
Squinting can severely damage children's eyesight and lead to double vision - especially for babies who have to learn to see first.

In fact, newborns learn to control eye movements in the first few weeks - they only see blurry at birth.

Squinting prevents three-dimensional vision
If one eye is misaligned, we speak of squint. This not only looks ugly, it also puts the images of the outside world processed in the eyes wrong.

Brain research knows today that the brain first combines the images received by both eyes into a three-dimensional structure. But it can only do that when the eyes are straight. If one eye is crooked, the perspective shifts so that the brain can no longer combine the information it receives into a single unit. We see double images.

What do the doctors say?
Doctors differentiate between inward and outward squint. A latent squint is the most common and is rarely treated. Those affected do not always squint, but only when the eye is overloaded. However, the brain can usually compensate for the position of the eyes, and only one in ten sufferers from vision problems.

Companion squint and paralysis squint, on the other hand, require treatment. The paralyzing squint paralyzes the eye muscle and is usually acquired, for example due to an injury. Squinting occurs mostly in babies,

Latent squint is widespread. 7 out of 10 people know the symptoms when they stare at the screen for a long time or drink alcohol. The brain of drunk people can no longer coordinate their eyes, so we see things twice in alcoholism.

On the other hand, squinting is either congenital or occurs in the first two years - in 4 out of 100 children.

Double vision
The result is double vision. Instead of a uniform image, the brain processes the images separately. The brain always works to repair malfunctions, but when double vision, this process leads to consequential damage: it slows down the wrong picture of the squinting eye, and so a poor eyesight often develops on the now untrained organ.

This can result in blindness
This acquired visual weakness on the squinting eye gets worse the more the brain suppresses its visual performance. Those affected continue to suffer until an ophthalmologist treats the deformity. Due to their poor eyesight, the job prospects of the patients are limited. Even more: the risk of going blind forever.

The misalignment of an eye cannot always be recognized by lay people. Doctors therefore recommend having a child examined by an ophthalmologist no later than the age of three.

Squint only children?
Adults also suffer from an acquired malposition of the eyes - for various reasons. Often they don't know the signals for it. Anyone who sees blurry, has to walk close to reading or watching TV, is extremely sensitive to light or frequently squeezes their eyes together can suffer from a squinting eye.

Various other causes can also be present, for example, irritation from chemical substances, astigmatism or decreased vision. Anyone who has the appropriate complaints should definitely go to an ophthalmologist.

Intentional squint not bad for eyes
However, parents need not be afraid if their child intentionally squints when he grimaces. Here the child uses the eye muscles willingly and the position of the eyes does not change.

Squint can be corrected by a harmless operation of the eye muscle. The following applies: the earlier the operation, the better the chances that the viewing angle will adapt. Such an operation is the only way to eliminate squinting in the long term. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

Video: What is Strabismus Surgery? (May 2022).