The family doctor plays a key role in the detection of strabismus, particularly in children who are too young to attend school or preschool. This article describes an approach to early recognition of the problem, with the goal of full development of visual function.
Parents will often ask the family medical practitioner whether a child has a squint or lazy eye. As an initial step, the terms used by the parent will need to be clarified: a ‘squint’ may refer to either strabismus (misalignment of the visual axes) or screwed up eyelids; a ‘lazy eye’ may refer to strabismus, ptosis or amblyopia.
Between 1 and 2% of children have manifest strabismus. The approach described in this article will enable the vast majority of cases to be identified.