No Squints About This One


“One of my patients went into shock seeing his wife squinted after marriage. You see, most marriages take place with the bride remaining in ‘ghoonghat’ all the while,” says squint specialist and MS (ophthalmology) Dr. Chandresh Parekh. 


“It was only after a successful squint correction operation that the duo went off on their much-delayed honeymoon.” he recalls.


Practising ophthalmology since the last decade and half after completing his masters in surgery at KEM, Dr. Parekh has his consultancy clinic at Grant Road.


“Squints are of several kinds. The youngest case I have encountered is that of a three-and-half month old child and the oldest being 65 years” says Dr. Parekh, who examines about 70 – 80 squint cases each week.


The reason for the formation of  squint can be quite ambiguous. It could develop spontaneously; could be secondary to brain tumour or caused due to cancer of the eye.


“There are four types of squints.” says the doctor. The first being the pseudo-squint, where the eyes function normally but appear to be squinted. The second squint is either constant or intermittent where the eyes go outward horizontally or vertically and the patient has voluntary control and can bring them back to their original place. In the third kind, the squint is secondary to cancer. The last kind of squint is known as the paralytic squint.


Contrary to popular belief, all squints are treatable. Treatment of squint includes wearing of special glasses to reduce the strain on the squinting eye and hence cure the squint; patching whereby the good eye is covered and the lazy eye is forced to work, eye exercises on a machine with special prism glasses and lastly, surgery.


Dr. Parekh uses the synoptophore, a machine which aids in the diagnosis of the type of squint and helps in exercising the affected eye.


“Any squint can be corrected at any age. The best time to correct it is when the patient is around six or seven years old. If it is corrected later, the patient will lose functions of the eye and the correction will only be cosmetic in nature,” says Dr. Parekh.


In the case of a “lazy eye”, delayed correction will only help rectify the structure of the eye by the ability of the eye in gauging depth is lost forever. 


“I had operated on a 65 year old patient, a vice-president of a company, who had to travel abroad quite frequently. After his surgery, he called me and told me that the operation had immensely boosted his confidence and that he was a changed man,” recalled Dr. Parekh.


And, for those wary of the operation, Dr. Parekh says, “having surgery is free of all risks but avoiding surgery can be very risky.”


He says it is risky because it causes a huge psychological impact besides impairing the patient’s judgement. 


Would you believe it? Parents have been complaining that their children have become more mischievous following successful squint operations. “Prior to the surgery they’re mostly introverted and avoid attracting attention to themselves but once their squint is resolved, they come out of their shell,” says Dr. Parekh.


Incidentally, the surgery takes just one to four hours and the patient is discharged within two hours without any postoperative patches. “For the affected, a squint operation could mean a world chane,” sums up Dr. Parekh.


– By: Gajanan Khergamker