A strabismus is defined as a condition where the eyes deviate when looking at a subject. When the eye turn occurs all of the time, it is called constant strabismus. When the eye turn 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 considerably based on types of strabismus and your overall eye health. Non-surgical treatment is available and more likely to lead to improved vision.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) is an eye condition is blurry or reduced vision that is not correctable by glasses, contact lenses or eye surgery. Lazy eye treatment can yield improvements at any age, but early detection and treatment still offer easier treatment and the best chances for a cure. Comprehensive vision examinations are needed for infants, toddlers, and pre-school children. A pediatrician’s eye exam or a 20/20 eye chart screening is not adequate for the detection of amblyopia and other visual conditions which are related to or mistakenly called lazy eye.
Double Vision or (Binocular Diplopia) occurs when both eyes are misaligned and aim at different targets, two non-matching images will be sent to the viewer’s brain. When the brain accepts and uses two non-matching images at the same time, double vision results. Double vision is dangerous to survival, so the brain naturally guards against its occurrence. In an attempt to avoid double vision, the brain will eventually disregard one of the mismatching images. That is, the brain will ignore 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 think that is a “lazy eye.” 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 that there is a problem include difficulty in catching or hitting a ball. Another symptom is if your child has difficulty seeing 3D movies. Being able to see 3D is not just a fun thing to do in the movies, it is important for every day life. As an example, we use 3 dimensional vision to ride a bicycle, walk down stairs, play sports and for all 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 also be signs of a vision problem. Treatment for amblyopia is different depending on which doctor you see. Some will tell you that nothing can be done after age 7 or 9. However, new research is confirming what we have known for years; thanks to optometric vision therapy, it is never too late to treat a lazy eye! It is definitely true that the earlier amblyopia and other vision conditions are diagnosed, the easier they are to treat and manage. But, even adults well into their 40’s and older can often benefit from vision therapy. As a parent it is important to educate yourself on ALL treatment options because children do not outgrow eye turns or 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 patching alone (with or without drops). Optometric vision therapy has helped many patients achieve normal vision in their amblyopic eye and has also resulted in eyes that are straight without the need for surgery! If you have been told your child is too old to treat, there is still hope. Vision therapy gets excellent results no matter how old.
A NON-SURGICAL SOLUTION TO EYE TURNS
Eye turns (a condition called Strabismus), have to do with an 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 of difficulty with doing certain daily activities. An eye turn may cause double vision. To avoid seeing double, the person may tend to 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. Actually, eye turns do not usually involve faulty or damaged eye muscles. Eye turns can often be treated non-surgically with a program of Vision Therapy. Eyes that wander cause more than just an appearance problem. Non-optimum binocular vision can cause trouble with:
– 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!