Eye Turn, or Strabismus, occurs when one or both of your eyes turns in, out, up or down, and is usually caused by poor eye muscle control. This misalignment often first appears before age 21 months but may develop as late as age 6. This is one reason why the American Optometric Association recommends a comprehensive optometric examination before 6 months and again at age 3. There is a common misconception that a child will outgrow strabismus. This is not true. In fact, the condition may get worse without treatment. If detected and treated early, strabismus can often be corrected with excellent results.
Strabismus most often develops in infants and young children, although it can occur in adults. This may also be caused by:
- Inadequate development of eye coordination in childhood
- Excessive farsightedness (hyperopia) or differences between the vision in each eye
- Problems with the eye muscles that control eye movement
- Head trauma, stroke, or other general health problems
Some signs and symptoms associated with Strabismus may include the following:
- Double vision
- Tendency to close or cover one eye/ head tilt/ or abnormal head posture
- Inaccurate depth judgment which can cause difficulties with catching a ball or driving a car
- Eye turn/deviation or abnormal motility of one or both eyes
- Loss of place when reading
- Transpositions when copying from one source to another
- Decreased vision (amblyopia)
Treatment for strabismus may include single vision or bifocal eyeglasses, prisms, vision therapy, and, in some cases, surgery. Optometric Vision therapy helps align the eyes and solves the underlying cause of strabismus by teaching your two eyes to work together. Surgery alone may straighten the eyes, but unless eye muscle control is improved, the eyes may not remain straight. The clinician should consider all aspects of the nonsurgical treatment of strabismus before recommending surgery. Surgical consultation is appropriate for patients whose strabismus is cosmetically objectionable, as well as for patients who may not display the intellectual, motivational, or physiological characteristics (including fusion potential) that warrant consideration of other treatment.
Optometric Vision therapy may be successful in the treatment of many forms of strabismus. The outcome is most favorable for patients with an eye-turn that occur sometimes. Nevertheless, constant or longstanding strabismus also can often be successfully treated with vision therapy. Optometric vision therapy or orthoptics involves active training procedures to improve the patient's fixation ability and eye-movement control, to eliminate amblyopia (lazy eye), to improve eye-teaming for depth perception that allows for watching a 3D movie, and to increase eye-focusing responses.
Optometric Vision therapy alone or in conjunction with prescription glasses or contact lenses, bifocal lenses, prisms, or surgery, is used to address treatment of an eye-turn. Optometric Vision therapy procedures are adapted to the individual patient and modified as the patient achieves binocular (eye-teaming) vision. Indications for treating strabismus with optometric vision therapy vary depending on the type of strabismus and the number of visual adaptations.
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