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Childhood squint: The Alex

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What is a squint?

A squint (strabismus) is an eye condition where the eyes do not look in the same direction as each other or work together as a pair all the time.

Squints can occur for a variety of reasons, at any age and can affect your child’s appearance, making it unclear where they are looking. Squints can also impair your child’s vision and, if left untreated, can cause a ‘lazy eye’ to develop.

Squint corrective operation

An operation is needed to correct your child’s squint. The eye surgeon will tighten or move one or more of the eye muscles that move the eye in order to change the position of the eye. The muscles are then fixed in their new position with dissolvable stitches.

The aim is to improve the alignment of the eyes and help them work together. The procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic and your child will be asleep.

After the operation

Your child’s eye will feel quite sore and ‘scratchy’ and the white part of the eye may look red and bloodshot. Your child may also produce reddish tears. The ‘scratchy’ feeling should settle after a few days and any redness should improve in the first few weeks.

Your child will have been given pain relief during the operation and will be able to have more on the ward if they are in pain when they wake up.

Most children are able to go home on the same day as their operation.


  • Your child’s pupil(s) may be enlarged; this should settle quickly.
  • Your child’s vision may be slightly blurry; this should settle quickly.
  • If your child wears glasses, the consultant will decide if they need to continue to be worn after the operation.
  • No swimming or ‘messy play’ (e.g. with sand) for four weeks.
  • Don’t get soap or shampoo in your child’s eye(s) for at least two weeks.
  • Try not to let your child knock or rub their eye(s).

Pain relief

It is important to give your child regular, simple pain medicine such as paracetamol and ibuprofen during the first 48 / 72 hours.

Paracetamol can be given again at:

Ibuprofen can be given again at:

Follow up / concerns and queries

The consultant will see you again in a couple of weeks. You will receive this appointment in the post.

Should you have any concerns or queries when you get home, please phone 01273 696955 and ask for the appropriate department.

Level 7 Day Case extension 62382: Mon/Fri 7:30 to 19:30

Pickford Ward extension 64881: 24 hours

Eye hospital A&E extension 63852: Mon/Fri 9:00 to 17:00

Orthoptics extension 64872: Mon/Fri 9:00 to 17:00


The official fundraising arm of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital.

Our aim is to provide information that will help you understand your child’s injury and enable the appropriate after care.

There are lots of useful injury leaflets to download at the Royal Alexandra website; use the QR code below or follow the link:

Useful numbers:

NHS 111: 24hr advice line

Practice Plus (Brighton walk-in Centre): 0333 321 0946

Practice Plus GP: 0300 130 3333 8am/8pm; 7 days a week.

This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.

University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust Disclaimer:

The information here is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

Publication Date: November 2021

Review Date: August 2024

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