What are the treatments for a divergent squint?
There are a number of treatments available for a divergent squint, which is otherwise known as divergent strabismus. People suffering this condition have one eye that turns outwards, which can cause embarrassment and poor vision in the affected eye if left untreated.
Typically, the condition will manifest in young children and this is often the best opportunity to pursue treatment. If caught early, a squint can usually be corrected without further problems, although this becomes more difficult as a person gets older.A squint may have several underlying causes including a lack of co-ordination between the eye muscles or a disorder of the brain that prevents the eyes working together. The most common treatments are eye exercises, patching, glasses and surgery. Operations are usually only carried out when all other treatments have failed or the squint is particularly severe.
How do divergent squint treatments work?
Most treatments for a squint have a fairly good success rate, provided you follow your optometrist's instructions carefully. Here is a list of the treatments and how they work:
- Glasses: Properly prescribed glasses should help children to correct a squint. In some cases, the condition may disappear completely when the child is wearing glasses and it could be the only treatment required. However, many kids require lots of encouragement to continue wearing their glasses and may say their vision is better without them. This is because they are used to working their eyes hard to focus and it may feel uncomfortable having the glasses perform this function for them.
- Eye exercises: There are various eye exercises available that help the eyes work better together. These co-ordinating practices can bring a squint under control and may also help with convergence insufficiency (a problem with near vision focusing).
- Patching: Occlusion therapy - or patching - is a common treatment for a lazy eye, which can be the result of a squint. By covering the strong eye with a patch, it forces the weaker eye to work harder.
- Surgery: When a squint is severe, surgery may be the best option. An operation will either improve the alignment of the eyes or help the eyes work together more easily. The muscles attached to the outside of the eye are moved to a new position that should correct the squint. Operations are carried out under general anaesthetic and it is not usually necessary for a patient to stay in hospital overnight after the procedure.