Eye Health

04 January 2011

How does a squint arise?

In order for the eyes to move together, the muscles in both eyes must be coordinated.


The exact cause of a squint or strabismus is not fully understood. Six eye muscles controlling eye movement are attached to the outside of each eye. In each eye, two muscles move the eye right or left. The other four muscles move it up or down and at an angle. To line up and focus both eyes on a single target, all of the muscles in each eye must be balanced and working together. In order for the eyes to move together, the muscles in both eyes must be coordinated.

The brain controls the eye muscles. Strabismus is especially common among children with disorders that affect the brain, such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, hydrocephalus and brain tumours. Cataracts and other causes of poor vision can also cause strabismus.


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Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg and is currently practising at Tygerberg Academic Hospital in Cape Town. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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