How to Stop an Outward Drifting Eye

Written by adele eliot
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How to Stop an Outward Drifting Eye
Squints can only be corrected in young children. (baby girl squinting image by Rose Hayes from

An outward drifting eye is more commonly known as a squint. This is a condition where one eye is out of alignment with the other, either drifting inward towards the nose or in the opposite direction. Squinting usually appears within the first three years of a child's life and it can be a serious condition, causing partial sight loss in the affected eye. Catching the condition early is important, as early treatment is more successful. Nothing will correct squinting in adults.

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  1. 1

    Use a patch. Placing a patch over the good eye encourages the squinting eye to work harder, helping the child maintain her vision. Using a patch also prevents the squinting eye from becoming a lazy eye, which can lead to loss of sight.

  2. 2

    Administer eye drops. You can put special drops into the good eye that leave the child's vision blurred, meaning the squinting eye has to work harder to help the child see. This method of correction can be useful if your child doesn't like wearing the patch, has allergies to the material or feels self-conscious about it.

  3. 3

    Wear glasses. If long- or short-sightedness in one eye is causing the squint, glasses might help correct this by balancing the vision of both eyes. Your child will need an eye test to determine the strength of the lenses he needs and might have to wear glasses for the rest of his life.

  4. 4

    Use Botox. This is only effective for some types of squint, such as esotropia (when the eye turns inward) but it might be an alternative to surgery. Botox paralyses muscles and stops them from working properly. Small doses of the toxin can weaken muscles and help correct squints.

  5. 5

    Undergo surgery. This is a last resort when all other methods of correcting the squint have failed. A surgeon carries out the operation under general anesthetic, where she strengthens or weakens particular eye muscles, preventing them from pulling the eye out of alignment. Sometimes, surgeons will need to correct muscle alignment on both eyes, but the operation is short and patients can usually return home the same day.

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