A squint, or strabismus, or crossed eyes, is a condition in which the eyes do not align properly. One eye turns inwards, upwards, downwards, or outwards, while the other one focuses at one spot. It can happen all the time or intermittently.
The following terms describe strabismus by the positions of the eye:
• Hypertropia is when the eye turns upwards
• Hypotropia is when the eye turns downwards
• Esotropia is when the eye turns inwards
• Exotropia is when the eye turns outwards
• The main sign of a squint is an eye that is not straight.
• When this misalignment is large and obvious, your brain makes practically no efforts to straighten the eye and it does not cause too many symptoms.
• When the misalignment is less or if it is not constant, headaches and eyestrain are experienced.
• There may also be fatigue when reading, jittery or unstable vision and an inability to read comfortably.
• Sometimes, your child may squint one eye when out in bright sunlight or tilt his head to use both his eyes together.
• It can also lead to loss of vision in the misaligned eye, a condition called as amblyopia.
• Newborn babies often have intermittent squint, but this reduces by 2 months of age and disappears by four months of age as the baby’s vision development occurs. However, most children never outgrow a true strabismus.
Six muscles around your eye are responsible for coordinating the movements of your eye. These are called extra-ocular muscles.
Strabismus develops when there is a problem that interferes with the controlling and functioning of the extraocular muscles. This problem may have to do with the muscles themselves or the nerves or regions of the brain that control the extra ocular muscles.
• Disorders that affect the brain may cause a squint, for eg. Cerebral Palsy (a disorder in which there is impaired muscle co-ordination), Down’s Syndrome (a genetic condition affecting physical and mental development), Brain tumors, Hydrocephalus (Collection of fluid in the brain), etc.
• A cataract, diabetes, eye injury or tumor in the eye that causes vision problems can also cause wandering eye.
• Damage to the retina in premature babies or an hemangioma (abnormal build up of blood vessels) near the eye during infancy may also be a cause.
• Your genes may also play a role in your developing a squint..
• Sometimes, when a child with uncorrected farsightedness tries to focus, he / she can develop something called accommodative esotropia. This happens because of the excessive focusing effort.
Apart from the standard ophthalmic examination, eye tests like –
• Retinal examination
• Visual Acuity testing
• Corneal light reflex
• Cover/ Uncover Test
• Brain and Nervous System testing
Can confirm the squint diagnosis.
Treatment depends on what is causing the squint and includes –
• Wearing glasses – if a child is long sighted, correcting their long sight may also correct their squint
• Patching – if the vision is worse in one eye than the other, we may patch the good eye to encourage the weaker eye to be used
• Eye drops – if the vision is worse in one eye than the other, eye drops may be used to blur the vision in the good eye to encourage the child to use their worse eye, in a similar way to patching
• Surgery – if wearing glasses does not fully correct the squint, surgery can be performed as early as a few months of age.
Ayurvedic Treatment –
Ayurvedic strabismus treatment aims to improve the strength of eye muscles. This approach includes eye exercise, improving eating habits to nourishing and a balanced diet, and following ayurvedic eye treatments like nethradhara, tharpana, eye massages, etc are very powerful in squint eye correction.
• Nethradhara –
This process includes washing the eyes with freshly prepared medicated decoctions for strengthening the muscles.
• Netra Basti –
It is used to reduce eye stress. The eyes are bathed to remove any congested secretion. A dough dam is built up around the eye and a warm medicated ghee is slowly poured into the dam, bringing peace and nourishment to the eyes.
• Netra Tarpana –
The procedure follows as a mixture made by gram flour is pasted around both the eyes and drugs are poured onto it such that the drug does not spill from the batter which is set around the eyes.
Home Remedies –
Along with the squint eye treatment in Ayurveda here are some home remedies for how to cure squint eye naturally:
• Putting 2 drops of ghee in the eyes at bedtime is a nourishing medicine.
• Vitamin-C rich fruits like berries and citrus fruits should be added in the daily diet.
• One teaspoon Triphala powder mixed with 1tsp of ghee and 2 tsp of honey to be taken twice daily with milk is a very good tonic for the strength of eye muscles and nerves.
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