Purpose: To systematically evaluate the perception of psychosocial difficulties due to strabismus and the impact of corrective surgery in adolescents and young adults in India.
Methods: Patients 15 to 25 years of age with childhood onset (< or = 5 years of age) of constant concomitant squint (> or = 30 prism diopters of deviation for distance) were included in the study. After a detailed orthoptic evaluation, demographic data of the patients and their parents were recorded. Postgraduate Institute Health Questionnaire N-2 (standardized in India) was administered to rule out neuroticism in the patients. Psychosocial problems faced by the patients were evaluated with a semistructured interview schedule. Patients were evaluated 3 months after surgery using a similar interview schedule to assess the psychological impact of surgery.
Results: Eighty percent of both male and female patients had problems in their social life; 85% of the males and 75% of the females had personal problems due to squint. After surgery, a positive change in appearance was noticed by 97.5% and 95% noticed a change in self-esteem and self-confidence.
Conclusion: These patients had difficulties with self-image and interpersonal relationships, faced ridicule at school and work, and generally avoided activities that brought attention to their defect. Substantial changes were noticed in them after corrective surgery, and the differences in their scores before and after surgery were statistically significant.