Strabismus, often referred to as an eye turn or cross-eye, is a condition that describes the improper alignment of the eyes. The deviation of one eye is often due to the lack of coordination between the muscles of the eyes. The inability for both eyes to point in the same direction and feed the brain with the same visual information can result in double vision or the appearance of two images inaccurately overlapping.
To avoid visual confusion, as an adaptation, the brain can learn to suppress or disregard the image seen by the turning eye. The change in behavior causes binocular vision dysfunction and a lack of depth perception, a term that refers to our ability to see in three dimensions.
Vision therapy for strabismus treatment helps reduce or correct eye misalignment and train the brain to simultaneously use both eyes to merge the images seen by each eye into a single 3D piece of information. Additionally, it reinforces neurological pathways that ensure eye teaming in all gazes and over a range of distances. The team at OCVT is experienced in using vision therapy for strabismus to help children and adults achieve improvements.
Strabismus Treatment for Infants and Toddlers through Vision Therapy
Infancy and young childhood are the best times to seek help from a developmental optometrist for strabismus treatment. During these times, development of visual systems is highly active, and giving them attention early on raises the chance of permanent vision correction.
However, you may find it challenging to tell whether a child suffers from strabismus. Similarly, unqualified observers may tell you that your child will grow out of their disability or that they will learn to compensate for it on their own.
The only sure way to give your child the gift of vision is to complete a comprehensive vision therapy eye exam as soon as you notice a problem. Look for signs of stunted development such as:
- Reversing and transposing of numbers and letters
- Headaches, dizziness, and nausea
- Burning, itching, red, or watery eyes
- Eyes moving independently of one another
- Crossing or turning inward of one or more eyes
- Turning outward of one or more eyes
An eye exam at the Optometry Center for Vision Therapy (OCVT) will help determine if your child is coping with strabismus and how treatment with vision therapy can begin to correct it.
Vision Therapy for Adults with Strabismus
Adults with strabismus have an advantage and a disadvantage when undergoing adult strabismus treatment with vision therapy. They are disadvantaged because it may require more time to retrain a matured adult visual system that has been adapting to the eye turn longer. However, they are advantaged because they often have greater discipline and motivation than children. Adults with strabismus are often surprised upon completion of their vision therapy treatment by the gains of their new-found vision. Improvements noted by adults often include better visual comfort, confidence, efficiency with reading and computer work, clarity of vision, depth perception, eye-hand coordination, and cosmetic appearance.
What Will Vision Therapy Treatment for Strabismus Be Like?
A developmental optometrist will tailor an exercise plan to the severity of your strabismus and your visual strengths. He or she will then guide you through exercise sessions and monitor your progress to determine the next steps.
Exercises may include:
- Convergence exercises
- Focus shifting
- Gaze maintenance
- Eye patching
Results rely heavily on your active participation and willingness to continue working on your vision consistently. Appropriate feedback teaches your brain to regularly combine information from both eyes, which fuses images more often and repairs 3D vision.
Strabismus is a problem of eye and brain coordination, not a muscle problem. While surgeries may attempt to align the eyes, vision therapy treatment for strabismus is the only way to naturally restore depth perception and retrain the brain while also gaining the alignment of the eyes.
How Do I Schedule an Appointment for Strabismus Treatment?
Come into the location nearest you or call during our office hours to talk with us directly, or reach us by filling out the form on our Contact Us page. We encourage you to complete a thorough exam at OCVT at the first sign of strabismus in infants and toddlers, whether a visual condition is apparent or not. Also, please do not hesitate to contact us if you cope with adult strabismus.
We’re waiting at your nearest location to help you begin your treatment as soon as possible!