Strabismus, also referred to as “crossed eyes” or “wandering eyes”, occurs quite often. It can be recognized as the disorder that makes one eye correctly focus and look around, while the other remains turned outward, inward, or at some other incorrect angle. The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus says that 4% of Americans have some form of Strabismus. Strabismus generally develops when a person is young, and that’s when it’s most easy to correct.
At Mountainview Vision Therapy we know this disorder well, and we love helping educate people about the different treatment options available. In this article we’ll discuss the main factors that contribute to this disorder, and what you can do to help yourself or your child overcome it.
A number of different sources may lead to Strabismus. Generally speaking, it occurs when the eyes don’t properly line up. Malfunctioning nerves or muscles do not function in tandem. This misalignment often causes double vision, which in turn leads to visual suppression. The brain is able to adapt by suppressing (ignoring the visual information from one eye) and simply utilize the other eye. If the misalignment is minor and intermittent, the brain typically can compensate, though this often leads to blurriness, eye strain, and other symptoms of visual discomfort.
How can you fix “crossed eyes”?
Surgery and vision therapy are the two most common treatments for strabismus. Although surgery can often be avoided in mild to moderate cases, if vision therapy is unsuccessful at training the patient to fully straighten the eyes, surgery may be recommended. After surgical intervention, much like physical therapy, a patient should receive vision therapy treatment post-surgery in order to improve not only muscular alignment, but neurological coordination and recovery. Unfortunately, without post-surgical vision therapy, approximately 50% of strabismus surgery cases may require an additional surgery in the future. For this reason, it is important that vision therapy be considered an integral part of any surgical treatment plan. Working directly with strabismus surgeons, we have had a very high rate of success in cases where vision therapy alone is not sufficient.
Sometimes patients are told that once their child reaches a certain age, Strabismus cannot be treated. Strabismus may be more difficult to treat at an older age, but we have seen success with patients of all ages.
If you or someone you love suffers from crossed eyes, we encourage you to make an appointment with us! We love our patients, and we want to help them. We’re confident in our ability to help you determine the correct course of action regarding strabismus and other visual functional problems. Call today!