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Understanding Strabismus: Facts and Treatment Options

February 9, 2021

Finding a doctor who offers specialized strabismus treatment can be challenging. This condition, usually indicated by crossed or lazy eyes, causes serious issues both with vision and appearance. Understanding strabismus and how it affects patients is essential for those who are dealing with it. Fortunately, OCLI Vision has board-certified ophthalmologists who are experts at treating strabismus.

What Is Strabismus?

Crossed eyes are usually the first sign of strabismus, which can affect children and adults. Because children can adjust to strabismus-related issues more easily, they may not experience the same severe effects on their vision as those who develop the problem later in life. Some of the most common strabismus-related side effects include:

  • Exotropia occurs when eyes turn outwards away from each other rather than crossing toward each other. Exotropia can cause serious problems with focusing on objects and is often associated with severe headaches.
  • Amblyopia is mostly found in younger children. It is also known as lazy eye and occurs when the vision in the weaker eye is suppressed to prevent double vision caused by eyes that are severely crossed. It can lead to eyestrain and headaches for some patients.
  • Many individuals with strabismus-related problems also experience significant loss of depth perception and peripheral vision, which can lead to difficulties with reading, driving and balance if not properly treated.

Why It Is Important to Treat Crossed Eyes

Left untreated, strabismus-related issues can cause severe headaches, vision issues and problems with balance and mobility. Even minor cases can sometimes lead to pain and discomfort after reading, driving or other activities and can have a real impact on your appearance. Addressing these issues promptly and effectively is a solid step toward better health and greater confidence in performing daily tasks, and in making the best possible impression on others.

Strabismus Treatment Options

There are several different ways that strabismus-related conditions are treated. In general, three basic approaches are used to address strabismus and correct the vision of those affected by it. Each of these options has the potential to provide real benefits for patients. In most cases, however, surgical solutions are only considered after other treatment approaches have been tried and have not achieved the desired level of success.

Pharmaceutical Solutions

Medications are often used to treat strabismus-related issues. These pharmacological options may include injections to relax the muscles around the eye, oral medications and eye drops. For mild cases, medications may relieve some or all of the symptoms associated with crossing of the eyes.

Orthoptics

Eyeglasses and prisms are among the most important physical tools available to strengthen the muscles that control eye movement and to correct vision. Eye exercises are often useful in this process. Orthoptic devices like Fresnel prism lenses and ground-in prism lenses can also produce solid results in many cases. Corrective eyeglasses may also be worn to adjust the field of vision for patients with strabismus-related issues.

Surgical Solutions

If other methods have not produced the desired results or when the severity of the condition requires it, strabismus surgery may be recommended to correct the issue. There are three basic types of strabismus surgery:

  • Transposition of the extraocular muscles can adjust the properties of these muscle groups to modify the direction in which the eyes naturally turn. This surgical procedure can produce near-immediate results.
  • Recession and resection surgical procedures are designed to move the muscles that control eye movement into a position that allows the eyes to move correctly. This can have a big impact on the effects of strabismus and the instances of double vision.
  • For patients who have had surgery in the past, scar revision surgery may be required to provide further correction or to compensate for issues arising from injury or inflammation.

Living with Strabismus

Coping with strabismus can be challenging even for those who have had the condition since childhood. For instance, patients who have untreated amblyopia will typically never see well from the less-dominant eye unless they undergo treatment with a qualified ophthalmologist. In many cases, this will prevent them from being able to drive safely and may affect their eligibility for certain vision-related employment opportunities. They may also experience severe headaches and double vision on a continuous or intermittent basis. Seeking treatment is often the best way to achieve a better quality of life.

Making an Appointment for Strabismus Treatment

At OCLI Vision, we offer specialized care for strabismus-related problems. We have the depth of experience and the knowledge needed to find the right treatment option for every patient. Give us a call today at 866-733-6254 to schedule an appointment. Our expert eye care team looks forward to the opportunity to serve you.

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