The alignment of our two eyes can vary from person to person. Strabismus refers to a condition in which the eyes are not aligned properly.
This can be sorted into several different categories: one eye or alternating between both eyes, turning inwards or outwards, present all the time or intermittently, etc. There are a variety of options that are available for treatment, although some will work better than others depending on the type and magnitude of the eye turn, and they will be explained in this article.
Glasses Can Help Strabismus
One of the simplest options would be to get glasses. Although not sufficient for all patients, some individuals that have inward turned eyes will benefit from a plus powered lens if their refractive error calls for it.
Some may even benefit from getting their minor prescriptions filled, as this sharpens images in the distance and provides a more clear image to focus on. Near adds, referring to glasses with plus power, are often prescribed to help with issues up close.
Prism refers to a specific prescription in glasses that allow for images to be shifted in our visual field. For those that are experiencing double vision, prism can be used to help fuse the images into one and fix the double vision.
This can be used for eyes turned in any direction. Prism can be ground into the glasses, such that it looks similar to a regular glasses lens, or a temporary sticker with prismatic power can be added on top of your current glasses.
Strabismus and Vision Therapy Treatments
Vision therapy is completed for the purpose of improving and training the functional visual system. Exercises are prescribed by our optometrists to address the eye turn and allow the patient to gain better control of the eye muscles involved.
The selected exercises will start easy and increase in difficulty as one improves. Those with outward turned eyes may respond better to vision therapy, although those with inward turned eyes can also benefit.
However, this is not a treatment option for those experiencing double vision in the vertical direction. Exercises can vary and will be designed for your abilities, while special patches, glasses, or tools are often required and will be provided.
Surgery is also an Option
This is a treatment option that is selected if the previously stated suggestions are not options on their own. Often, it is pursued if the eye turn is very large.
Young children with large eye turns may be good candidates for surgery to ensure proper development of the visual system. Some adults may also be candidates if their eye turn is large and vision therapy or glasses do not help.
Occlusion Therapy (Eye Patching) for Strabismus
One of the final and temporary treatment options would be to occlude or patch the eye that is turning. This would prevent double vision and confusion from the eyes being turned in different directions.
This is only considered if none of the previously stated treatment options are feasible. This can also be an option if the eye turn is transient, due to a systemic medical condition or medication, and is expected to return to normal functioning.
Make sure to consult with one of our optometrists before jumping into this solution.