The professional staff at Mountainview Vision Therapy treat many types of functional visual disorders, including those involving eye turns. Children with strabismus often exhibit amblyopia as well.
What is it?
Strabismus is a condition in which the two eyes do not maintain proper alignment. While one eye is looking directly at an object, the other is aiming in a different direction. This will result in double vision unless the brain ignores the signal from one of the eyes. Constant strabismus means that one eye is always turned. Intermittent strabismus occurs when both eyes align properly some of the time, but at other times one eye turns or wanders. The misaligned eye can go inward, outward, upward or downward as the other continues to focus on an object. Strabismus can also present when viewing only at certain distances, for instance when looking into the distance, or when reading or focusing on near objects.
One cause of strabismus is abnormal development of neuromuscular connections, or coordination between the eye and brain. The connection between the eye muscles and the brain have not developed the ability to completely control the very fine movements required to keep the eyes aligned. In some cases, the cause can be related to an unmet need for glasses correction which causes the eyes to focus much harder than necessary resulting in one eye turning inward. Other causes can include problems with the health of the eye itself. A thorough examination is needed to uncover the most likely cause.
How is Strabismus Treated?
There are several ways to treat strabismus. The goal is to get both eyes working efficiently as a team. Rehabilitative vision therapy, prisms, eye glasses and surgery to attempt to physically align the ocular muscles are common treatment methods. In many cases, a combination is used. Training the eyes to work in tandem can take a considerable length of time depending on the severity of the condition.
In vision therapy, we use 3D technology and have a host of activities specially designed to help strengthen the coordination between the brain and the eye muscles allowing them to work more efficiently with the other eye. Often even in severe cases that require surgery, therapy will also be a key component to train the brain how to use the two eyes together after the procedure.
It is never too late to receive treatment for strabismus. We have treated many adults with previously unsuccessful strabismus surgeries, as well as those who have developed strabismus as a result of stroke, head trauma, or disease. We have seen great success in many of these individuals. Treatment should always be sought as early as possible as the brain is more formativ at younger ages, but that does not mean older patients cannot develop the ability to align their eyes.