Those suffering from strabismus often believe that eye muscle surgery is their only option. Austin eye care experts, however, have shared that vision therapy is gaining ground as the most effective therapy for crossed eyes, lazy eyes, and wandering eyes. Dr. Denise Smith of The Center for Vision Development offers customized vision therapy plans that treat the root cause of the problem instead of the symptoms. Read on to learn more about strabismus, and see what the Austin vision center recommends for treatment.
“Strabismus” is the correct name for the conditions often known as crossed eyes, lazy eyes, and wandering eyes. It is a neurological condition that makes the brain incapable of aligning both eyes; this means that eyes can’t view the same thing at the same time. This can cause double vision, or the brain may adapt in other ways. It may ignore the image from the misaligned eye, for example, in a condition called suppression. Both of these conditions can compromise depth perception or eliminate it completely. People with strabismus may struggle to focus, or need to adjust their head so they can perceive everything with just one eye.
The most common causes of strabismus are genetic predispositions, developmental issues, and trauma to the brain or eyes. It is ultimately caused by an anatomical or neurological issue that causes problems with the alignment, coordination, and function of the extraocular muscles.
Those seeking vision care in Austin generally consider two routes for treating strabismus: eye muscle surgery or vision therapy. More and more experts are speaking in favor of vision therapy, particularly since it is a non-invasive alternative to surgery. Even the safest surgeries still carry some risk, and vision therapy is often undertaken as a last resort to avoid surgical treatment. Many optometrists believe it should be the first treatment choice, though, because repeated studies have shown it to be effective. Eye muscle surgery is often ineffective, so vision therapy may be required regardless. Cutting the eye muscles does not necessarily result in the eyes working better together (“teaming”). It can, however, be beneficial in mitigating the appearance of the crossed, lazy, or wandering eyes.
You might be wondering what vision therapy involves. The brief explanation is that vision therapy is a customized program of visual activities, designed and supervised by an optometrist, and intended to correct vision problems and improve vision skills. The activities may include the use of therapeutic filters, prisms, and lenses, as well as phototherapy, computerized technology, and devices like metronomes and balance boards. All of these are used to teach the visual system how to correct itself. It may sound impossible, but it’s really no different than physical therapy to help regain muscle strength or fine motor skills.
Dr. Smith will perform initial evaluations, and then create a personalized vision therapy plan for you or your child. It will train the brain to properly align the eyes, thus improving functioning, depth perception, and cosmetic appearance. If you would like to benefit from Austin eye care and vision therapy, visit The Center for Vision Development. Call 512-351-7288 or click here to request an appointment online.