Squint is a misalignment of the two eyes so that both the eyes are not looking in the same direction. This misalignment may be constant, being present throughout the day, or it may appear sometimes and the rest of the time the eyes may be straight.
It is a common condition among children. It may also occur in adults.
In a child, the parents may notice the deviation of eyes. It is important to remember that the eyes of a newborn are rarely aligned at birth. Most establish alignment at 3-4 weeks of age. Therefore squint in any child who is more than one month old must be taken seriously and should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist. Adults may notice double vision, or misalignment of the eyes.
When the eyes are not aligned properly, each of the eyes is focusing on a different object and sends signal to the brain. These two different images reaching the brain lead to confusion and may have either of the two effects:
A child would ignore the image coming from the deviated eye, and thus sees only one image. But in the process, he loses the depth perception. This suppression of the image from the deviating eye results in poor development of vision in this eye, which is known as amblyopia.
An adult can not ignore the image from either eye, and therefore has double vision. This can be very annoying and may interfere with work.
In a child, the treatment of squint and any associated amblyopia should be started as soon as possible. Generally speaking, the younger the age at which amblyopia is treated; the better is the chance of recovery of vision. Remember that the child would never grow out of squint. A delay in treatment may decrease the chances of getting a good alignment and the vision.