Video: Childhood Squint – How to Identify and Treat It

John Sloper, a paediatric consultant at Moorfields Eye Hospital explains the causes of squints, a misalignment of the eye. He describes how to identify the symptoms and the treatment options..

Editor’s Note: Video Highlights

What Is Childhood Squint:

  • Occurs when the two eyes point in different directions and as a result see different things and the brain can’t combine the images – vision in one eye deteriorates (amblyopia)
  • Amblyopia is very common and affects one child in 20
  • Squints can occur in children at any age although it commonly occur in babies between 4-6 months old or children ages 2-3 and it’s important up to about age 7 because that’s the age at which it can affect the development of vision


  • Parents will notice the two eyes are not pointing in the same direction
  • Lazy eye is more difficult to diagnose because it can also occur because the focus in the two eyes is different


  • First question is whether vision is affected in both eyes
    • Glasses are first line of treatment
    • Patching good eye to develop vision in poor eye
    • Improvements typically seen in 80% of children
  • Goal of treatment
    • Good vision in both eyes
    • Get the eyes to work together (achieved with a minority of children)
    • Make the eyes look straight (helps the children socially)
  • Surgery is an uncomfortable 2nd option, but children bounce back quickly
    • Good vision results are usually permanent
    • If eyes work together results are usually long lasting
    • If not, the affected eye may drift over 20-30 years and can be corrected with further surgery as an adult
    • Surgical complications are extremely rare
    • Squint surgery is typically a single day procedure with no overnight hospital stay required
  • Results
    • Squints are common and a lot can be done to improve them, however it is important to treat children with squints early – as the earlier they’re seen, typically the better the outcome of the treatment.

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