Eye Health

15 December 2008

What are the different types of squint?

Are the eyes turned inwards or outwards?

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Esotropia
Esotropia, where the eye turns inward, is the most common type of squint in infants. In most cases, early surgery can align the eyes. During surgery for esotropia, the tension of the eye muscles in one or both eyes is adjusted.

Accommodative esotropia
Accommodative esotropia is a common form of esotropia that occurs in farsighted children two years or older. When a child is young, he or she can focus the eyes to adjust for the farsightedness, but the focusing effort (accommodation) to see clearly causes the eyes to cross.

Glasses reduce the focusing effort and can straighten the eyes. Sometimes bifocals are needed for close work. Eye drops, ointment or special lenses called prisms can also be used to straighten the eyes.

Exotropia
Exotropia, or an outward turning eye, is another common type of strabismus. This occurs most often when a child is focusing on distant objects. The exotropia may occur only from time to time, particularly when a child is daydreaming, ill or tired. Parents often notice that the child squints one eye in bright sunlight. Although glasses, exercises or prisms may reduce or help control the outward turning eye in some children, surgery is often needed.

 

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Optometrist

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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