The London Squint Clinic
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Squint Treatment

Both squint and lazy eye can often be treated. The important questions facing parents are

  • should they be treated?

  • when should they be treated?

  • how should they be treated?

  • who should treat them?


Treatment of lazy eye

Lazy eye (or amblyopia) occurs when the brain gives less attention to one eye's image than the other. This can be because that eye is blurry, or is turning, or there is something blocking the vision in the eye. Whatever the cause, if this situation is left untreated, that eye will never develop normal vision. This is something that normally can't be corrected in later life. That is why lazy eye (amblyopia) is worth picking up early and treating.

The way to treat lazy eye is first to make sure the child is wearing absolutely the correct glasses, and secondly to encourage the weaker eye by patching the good eye. Patching works by forcing the brain to use the weaker eye until is gives proper attention to it. Patching is an effective treatment for most cases of lazy eye. In the old days. patching was often prescribed for many hours per day bit now most children we treat show improvement with just 2 hours of patching a day. This can be given all at once, or can be split into two half sessions. It can be done at nursery or school, or be done at home. It is a great, proven, non-invasive treatment which has helped thousands of kids around the world improve their vision. But it does't work for everyone. There are some children in whom patching just can't overcome the disadvantage of the weaker eye. However, even in those kids who do not benefit, it is important to have tried so that th parents and the child know that whatever could be done, was attempted.

An alternative treatment of lazy eye is to use atropine drops in the better eye. These blur the vision in the good eye and that forces the brain to attend more to the weaker eye. Their are pros and cons to atropine vs patching, and these will be discussed with you if your child needs lazy eye treatment.


Treatment of squint

Squints can be treated in a variety of ways. Commonly, we start with making sure the child is wearing absolutely the best pair of glasses that may be needed. For some kids with squints, glasses alone are an effective treatment. For other kids, glasses or patching are not enough and surgery may be considered.

Sometimes the best treatment for a squint is no surgery at all. This may come as a surprise but it is a fact. The squint may be too small, too intermittent, or the risks of surgery may outweight the benefits. There are many adults today who suffer from problems with squints only because they had operations for squints in childhood that should not have taken place. As Mr Ali sees both children and adults with squint problems, he is well aware of the long-term problems people face when they are incorrectly advised to have surgery in chilhood. One of the key benefits of having an expert assess your child's squint is being saved from inappropriate surgery..

For many children with squints however, surgery is absolutely the right thing to do. Surgery can help vision and transform appearance. If surgery is indicated, the questions that matter are:

  • when to operate?

  • what operation to do?

  • how much surgery to do?

  • who should do the surgery?

Success from squint surgery is a combination of science and art. It is a blend of techincal skill and stragetic expertise. On the NHS, many children's squint operations are carried out at least in part by junior doctors. Due to training needs, parents are not in a position to request that only the Consultant does their child's operation. By seeing a Consultant squint surgeon privately. however, you ensure that your child's eye surgery is in only expert hands.