If you think your child has got a squint or strabismus, what can you do?
Your child can be assessed at Clinica London by the paediatric ophthalmologist, Ms Naz Raoof.
Ms Raoof and her team of orthoptists, Gina Harris and Joe McQuillan, will determine whether they have a squint or whether it is a pseudo squint. She will also ensure that there is nothing wrong inside the squinting eye, such as having an undetected cataract or tumour retinoblastoma or a developmental abnormality. This involves having an orthoptic assessment and cycloplegic refraction, then a fully comprehensive eye and retinal examination. Ms Raoof and her team at Clinica London are very good at assessing children’s eyes. The nurses have to put in dilating drops into their eyes to help Ms Raoof do the eye assessment. These take a few minutes to work and then wear off after a couple of hours.
Please see my previous blog posts on a lazy eye to find out more about what happens when you come to Clinica London to see Ms Raoof.
If your child has got a squint, it can affect the development of their vision, and they could end up with a lazy eye, not just a cosmetic imperfection of the eye looking as though it is turning inwards or outwards. Turning inwards is called esotropia and an eye turning outwards is called exotropia. Esotropia is more common than exotropia in children, although both are frequently encountered. A lazy eye is when one eye does not develop its neural connections to the brain during the development of the vision at the critical ages up to age seven years approximately. We are becoming a lot more aware of the psychological effects on the child in having a squint.
There is a psychosocial effect on the child when they go to school because other kids can tease them, other parents will think that they look “funny” and their parents will be naturally over concerned about them, and this can affect the child’s psychological development and how the child interacts with other children. Children with eye problems can experience difficulties with groups of other children at school and play, not just because they cannot see well, but because they are stigmatised. Therefore the benefits of treatment for a squint are visual, cosmetic and psychosocial.
We want to help your child grow up to be a confident adolescent and young adult with two eyes that function well and together. They may have to wear glasses, they may have to be patched, and they may have to have squint surgery. This is an investment in your child for the future to help them develop the best possible vision and get the best out of life interacting well with other children at school and therefore learning well and becoming self-confident socially.