Squint - Treatment 

Treating a squint 

Childhood squint: Holly's story

A paediatric consultant explains the causes of squints, a misalignment of the eye. He describes how to identify the symptoms and the treatment options.

Media last reviewed: 09/09/2013

Next review due: 09/09/2015

Eye patch

If your child has a lazy eye, they may need to wear a patch over their "good" eye to encourage the eye with the squint to work harder. This is known as "occlusion".

Wearing a patch cannot improve a squint, but it can improve the vision in the lazy eye and is often used prior to squint treatment.

The patch may need to be worn for a few hours a day for several weeks. Eye patches are most effective if they are worn before a child is seven or eight years of age.

Read more about how a lazy eye is treated.

It is important that a squint is treated as soon as possible after being detected. 

If it is not treated, vision problems, such as those caused by a lazy eye (amblyopia), are likely to get worse or could become permanent.

Treatment is most effective in very young children.

Several types of treatment are available for squints, including:

These are described below.

Glasses

Glasses are one of the most common treatments for squints. They can be used to correct the vision problems (refractive errors) that may be causing the squint, such as:

Children's glasses will have plastic rather than glass lenses to reduce the risk of possible injury. Your child will usually need to wear their glasses all the time.

Eye exercises

In some cases, it may be possible to treat a squint using special eye exercises that help the eyes work together.

Botulinum toxin injection

Botulinum toxin may be a treatment option for some types of squint.

It can be injected into one of the muscles that move the eye. The injection temporarily weakens the injected muscle, allowing the eyes to realign.

The effects of botulinum toxin usually last around three months. After this time, the eyes may stay in position or they may go back out of alignment and require further treatment. 

Children will usually be given medication to help them relax (a sedative) before having the botulinum toxin injection. 

Botulinum toxin injections can cause temporary side effects such as:

  • a droopy eyelid (ptosis)
  • the eye "drifting" slightly, so it appears as if one eye is looking up
  • double vision
  • some bleeding over the white part of the eye

Surgery

If treatment doesn't work, surgery may be  recommended. Surgery can be used to:

  • improve the alignment of the eyes (and therefore their appearance)
  • help the eyes work together

Read more about squint surgery.

Page last reviewed: 31/01/2013

Next review due: 31/01/2015

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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

venabh said on 28 February 2014

My daughter is 5 approaching 6. When she was approaching 3 her left eye started to turn in so had this looked at. She is long sighted and has glasses,, done patchwork. Slow progress...my question is when is surgery onsidered to make eye straight as surely if eyes straight can still wear glasses to improve and support vision? Anyone had tbis scenerio....mixed messages from vision testers

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