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Diagnoses – Convergent Squint

30 December, 2011

As a family, we have a collection of diagnosed and in 2011 there was a rapid increase in the number of them held by our family.

I would like to help spread awareness about these issues and help explain them for others who do not understand them and so I am going to blog about them, one or two at a time. In most cases I will not reveal who has which diagnosis to protect the privacy of our family members, although sometimes it will be revealed.

To open up the account, I’ll explain what a bilateral convergent squint is.

A convergent squint is a form of strabismus. Strabismus is simply the name given to any condition that causes the eyes to not be straight or not work together. A convergent squint or esotropia is where one or both eyes turns in toward the nose. A bilateral convergent squint occurs in both eyes. It is sometimes referred to as being cross eyed.

Sometimes the vision can be corrected with glasses, patching (covering the stronger eye to force the weaker eye to work harder) and eye exercises. Sometimes surgery is required and would usually accompany some or all of the above therapies. In responsive cases, binocularity (the ability to look at something and focus with both eyes) is achieved with, or without, glasses. Those who do not achieve binocularity will have persistent problems with depth perception, as the perception of depth relies heavily on the brain reconciling the messages from each eye.

Convergent squints can occur in people who are long sighted, a condition called hyperopia, (seeing better at longer distances and have trouble seeing up close) and people who are short sighted, called myopia, (seeing better at closer distances and have trouble seeing things far away). We have one of each in our family. Both of these people have had surgery and their vision is likely as good as it will ever get. Barring new technology, people with these conditions will have poorer than average eyesight and will likely be legally blind in their later years.

Those who need to patch their children’s weaker eye may find the book “The Patch” by Justina Chen Headley helpful. We did.

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