Health & Fitness

Squint or strabismus: Know the symptoms, treatments, and foods that help keep your eyes healthy

A squint, also called strabismus, is a medical condition in which the eyes do not align properly. “This disorder generally occurs due to poor eye muscle control. Some other reasons include an improper balance of eye muscles, faulty nerve signals to the eye muscles, and focusing faults. Due to these problems, eyeballs may converge or diverge, thus obstructing the proper functioning of the eye. It’s very common in young children, but can occur at any age,” Dr Sumera Majeed Zargar, senior consultant, (Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals) told indianexpress.com.

Some common symptoms of squint eye

*One of the main symptoms is an eye that is not straight.
*When this misalignment is large and obvious, your brain makes practically no effort to straighten the eye, and it does not cause too many symptoms.
*When the misalignment is less or if it is not constant, headaches and eyestrain are experienced.
*There may also be fatigue when reading, jittery or unstable vision, and an inability to read comfortably.
*Sometimes, your child may squint one eye when out in bright sunlight or tilt his head to use both his eyes together.
*It can also lead to loss of vision in the misaligned eye, a condition called amblyopia.

In order to prevent the occurrence of squint eyes, one should take care of the following

*Closing the eyes and resting is a good practice.
*Moving the eyes as far up and to the right.
*Finding a point in the vision to focus on and count one breath.

According to Dr Zargar, these practices can help

*Wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses
*Allowing your eyes to rest
*Use an eye-patch for the better seeing eye
*Palming
*Pencil push-ups or an eye exercise in which a pencil is held directly in front, at arm’s length. It is then drawn towards the nose.

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How is it treated?

Squints, if treated on time without delay, are easier to correct.
*Amblyopia or lazy eye needs to be treated first. It can be done by patching the good eye so that the weaker eye gets trained to work harder.
*If the crossed eyes do not get corrected, eye muscle surgery is indicated.
*Botox or Botulinum Toxin stops muscles from working and can be injected directly into eye muscles for certain types of squints.

eye health Many illnesses can be detected during a comprehensive eye check-up (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
Food you must take in your diet to keep your eyes healthy

*Maintaining your eyesight starts by ensuring a proper diet. Different food groups contain various vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help preserve the eyes.

*Omega-3 fatty acid from cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and halibut reduce the risk of developing eye disease. It also helps to protect an adult’s eye from macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome.

*Oranges and all of their citrus cousins — grapefruit, tangerines, tomatoes and lemons — are high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that is critical to eye health. Vitamin C produces collagen which is important for eyes. It holds them together and protects them, which helps in preventing any kind of eye problems.

*Zinc may help protect your eyes from the damaging effects of light. Foods item high in zinc include peas, beans, lean red meat, poultry and fortified cereals.

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*Carrots are high in beta-carotene, a nutrient that helps with night vision, as are other orange-coloured fruits and vegetables like sweet potatoes, apricots and cantaloupe. It also plays a crucial role in vision by maintaining a clear cornea, which is the outer covering of your eye.

*Vitamin E is an antioxidant which protects certain parts of the eye. It also helps to lower the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataract, two age-related conditions. Including almonds, pistachio and walnuts in diet helps in preventing any kind of eye disorders.

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