A strabismus is a condition where the eyes deviate when looking at a subject. The condition is often referred to as “crossed-eyes” or “lazy eye.” When the eye malfunction occurs all of the time, it is called constant strabismus. When it occurs only some of the time, it is called intermittent strabismus. With intermittent strabismus, the eye turn might be observed only occasionally, such as during stressful situations or when the person is ill.
Strabismus treatment options and outcomes vary based on the type of strabismus and the patient’s overall eye health. Non-surgical treatment is available at The Center for Vision and more likely to lead to improved vision. Along with being potentially detrimental to everyday life, patients with a strabismus may also suffer from low self esteem and self-consciousness.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) is an eye condition in which the patient suffers from blurry or reduced vision that is not correctable by glasses, contact lenses, or eye surgery. Early detection in children with lazy eye provides faster treatment and the best chance for a cure. Comprehensive vision examinations are needed for infants, toddlers, and pre-school children. Unfortunately, routine eye exams by a pediatrician or a 20/20 eye chart screening is not adequate for the detection of amblyopia or other visual conditions which are related to or mistakenly called lazy eye.
Double Vision or (Binocular Diplopia) occurs when both eyes fail to work together when focusing on an object. Instead, one eye may focus while the other searches for a different target. When the brain accepts two non-matching images at the same time, people see double vision. Since double vision is not conducive to survival, the brain will guard against its occurrence. In an attempt to avoid double vision, the brain will eventually disregard one of the mismatching images, meaning that if left untreated, patients may go blind in one eye.
Lazy Eye: What Is It? And What Can Parents Do About It?
“Lazy Eye,” or amblyopia, is easy to miss because there are very few symptoms. Lazy eye means that the eye sees poorly, even with eyeglasses. Usually, when parents see an eye that doesn’t seem to line up correctly, they simply think that it is a “lazy eye.” But in fact, that is a condition called an eye turn, or strabismus. It is important for parents to understand that while amblyopia and strabismus often occur together, you won’t always see an eye wander off when your child has amblyopia.
Some early childhood symptoms that might indicate a problem include difficulty in catching or hitting a ball, pouring cereal into a bowl, picking up objects, etc. Another sign is if your child has trouble seeing 3D movies. Not just for movies, we use 3-dimensional vision to ride a bicycle, walk down stairs, play sports, and any activities that require eye-hand coordination. If your child always knocks over the milk at the dinner table, is clumsy or has sloppy handwriting, these could all be signs of a vision problem.
It is never too late to treat a lazy eye! The earlier amblyopia and other vision conditions are diagnosed, the easier they are to treat and manage. However, even adults well into their 40s and older can benefit from vision therapy. As a parent, it is important to educate yourself on ALL the treatment options because children do not outgrow eye turns or a lazy eye. Surgery is not the only way to treat an eye turn, and there are more effective treatment options for lazy eye other than the tried and true practice of just patching alone.
Optometric vision therapy has helped many patients achieve normal vision in their amblyopic eye and has also resulted in the eye straightening without the need for surgery.
If you have been told your child is too old to treat, there is still hope. Vision therapy can achieve excellent results no matter how old the patient is, and we will be happy to walk you through your options and begin treatment right away.
A Non-Surgical Solution to Eye Turns
Eye turns (strabismus), have to do with the inability to point both eyes in the same direction at the same time. One eye—or both, as in crossed eyes—may appear to turn in, or one eye may turn out, up or down. Eye turns can change from one eye to the other, and may only appear after a person becomes tired or injured.
It is not always noticeable, except through symptoms like having difficulty doing certain daily activities. An eye turn may even cause double vision. To avoid seeing double, the person may inadvertently ignore the visual images from one eye by turning his or her head while reading.
Eye Turns Can Be Treated With Vision Therapy
While surgery can straighten the eyes, one eye may still have a tendency to continue “seeing” as though it were still crossed.
Eye turns can often be treated non-surgically with a program of vision therapy. This can help with those who have trouble doing the following:
- Riding a bicycle or driving
- Measuring objects in relation to oneself
- Doing close-up work
- Playing ball sports
- Depth perception; inability to see in 3D
If you or a loved one has an eye turn, be sure to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.
Vision Therapy programs can be very effective in treating eye turns, lazy eyes, and double vision. It is never too late to be helped!