Symptoms to look for 

The most obvious sign of a squint is eyes that look in different directions. 

Most often, one eye turns inwards (convergent squint) or outwards (divergent squint). In rarer cases, it may turn up or down (vertical squint).

They can either be apparent at all times (constant), or only be apparent at certain times (intermittent). Minor squints are not always obvious.

Squints can also cause blurred vision or double vision, but babies and young children may not realise there is a problem. 

Babies and young children

It is quite normal for the eyes of newborn babies to "cross" occasionally, particularly when they are tired. However, you should speak to your GP if you notice this happening to your child after three months of age.

If your child looks at you with one eye closed or with their head turned to one side, it may mean that they are experiencing double vision and could be a sign that they have a squint. If this happens repeatedly, take your child to see your GP as soon as possible.

Lazy eye

If a squint is left untreated, lazy eye (amblyopia) can develop. The vision in the affected eye gradually deteriorates because the brain ignores the weaker message being sent from that eye. A lazy eye can be treated up until about six or seven years of age, but it is important that it is treated as soon as possible.

As with squints, a lazy eye may cause blurred or double vision in children but it may not be detected until their first sight test. This is usually at around four or five years of age.

Page last reviewed: 31/01/2013

Next review due: 31/01/2015