Strabismus is the medical name and diagnosis for a visual condition in which the two eyes are not aligned and working together as a team at all times. In other words, the two eyes are not always fixating or focusing at the same place or on the same visual target simultaneously (normal binocular vision).
Reduced vision is a result. Symptoms can include double vision, loss of vision in one eye (amblyopia), loss of binocular vision and depth perception, learning disability, anxiety, being accident-prone and more.
Strabismus and Lazy Eye (Amblyopia) are not the same condition or diagnosis, but they do sometimes occur at the same time or one can cause the other. Treatment is not always the same, but Vision Therapy with or without corrective lenses is an effective treatment for both of these conditions.
Treatments for Strabismus include Strabismus Surgery, Atropine Drops, Botox injections, Corrective Lenses with or without prism, and Vision Therapy (including Orthoptics). Any treatment that addresses the eye muscles only, such as Strabismus Surgery or medications (Atropine, Botox) will most likely not change the brain and nervous system enough to normalize vision and to bring about improved vision, such as binocular vision and 3D stereo vision (stereopsis). And in many cases, in terms of cosmetic results only, even after repeated strabismus surgeries, lasting normal appearance is still not achieved. In other words, Strabismus Surgery often is cosmetic surgery only whereas Vision Therapy changes eyes, brain, and body to improve both appearance and vision at the same time.
Vision Therapy with or without corrective lenses is the most effective and non-invasive treatment for Strabismus. In a Vision Therapy program, eye exercises, lenses, and/or other therapy activities are used to treat the brain and nervous system which control the eye muscles. Vision Therapy produces both positive cosmetic results and vision improvement (3D vision, stereopsis, binocular depth perception, etc.).
In some cases of Strabismus (such as congenital esotropia), surgery is part of the treatment plan or the patient has already had one or more strabismus surgeries. Our practice provides expert pre- and post- surgical consultation, primary eye care, and therapy. We can help you make a fully informed decision. Our recommendations will depend on the type of strabismus and many other factors. We will inform you as to the possible risks and outcomes. For example, we will want you to be aware that strabismus surgery often has to be repeated because the eye straightening effects do not last and the eye turn comes back or changes direction.