FAQ: “When is strabismus surgery necessary? What should I be vigilant about before going through with it?” – A guide based upon what I would have wanted to know before undergoing eye muscle surgery

FAQ: “When is strabismus surgery necessary? What should I be vigilant about before going through with it?” – A guide based upon what I would have wanted to know before undergoing eye muscle surgery

NOTICE: Because communication and collaboration between ophthalmologists/strabologists and developmental optometrists is generally poor, it's hard to know whether one is getting the appropriate information or advice. Having suffered from strabismus for twenty years during which I have undergone three strabismus surgeries and more recently three years of Vision Therapy, I feel like my ideas might be useful to many who are struggling to make the right decision.  I am not an optometrist or vision care professional but under the force of circumstances I have become well-read on the subject. Moreover, during this time, I…Read more …
FAQ: “I have a cross-eyed infant/child so what the hell am I supposed to do?!” – A guide based upon what I would have wanted my parents to know twenty years ago

FAQ: “I have a cross-eyed infant/child so what the hell am I supposed to do?!” – A guide based upon what I would have wanted my parents to know twenty years ago

NOTICE: I am not an optometrist or vision care professional. However, I have a lot of experience in dealing with strabismus and am well-read on the subject. As an independent patient who has no stake in your choice of practitioner I feel it is my moral duty to warn parents about possible pitfalls in the vision care system. Moreover I feel like I can lend special insight into a strabismic child's situation and visual development for two reasons. I used to be a strabismic child myself and after much trial and error in…Read more …
Why and how can text-to-speech programs be helpful to some strabismics?

Why and how can text-to-speech programs be helpful to some strabismics?

It is only recently that I started appreciating the value of text-to-speech programs and there's a couple of good reasons for that. - Not all text-to-speech programs are created equal. You have to find the right one. I'm not in the business of making publicity for anything but I think the program I'm using deserves to be mentioned. TextAloud is available in English, Spanish and some other European languages. Especially when combined with an optional 'natural voice' it proves to be enjoyable to work with. - My vision had to reach a certain…Read more …
Visual Impediments to Learning: What’s it going to be? Your health, your education or both?

Visual Impediments to Learning: What’s it going to be? Your health, your education or both?

Somehow I have always felt discriminated. I could never really put my finger on it but it seemed like the normal rules didn't apply to me. Things always were a little bit harder on me. Now it's totally obvious this was because of a motor and sensory brain issue. Of course, kids don't think about their brains. What is striking though is that over the years people have been jumping through all kinds of hoops to make things even harder on me. Parents, educational and medical system alike. Now, I have been fairly…Read more …
On dealing with double vision and the limitations of current ophthalmology practices concerning strabismus

On dealing with double vision and the limitations of current ophthalmology practices concerning strabismus

Even among people with strabismus, the ones with intractable double vision are quite rare. Most strabismics unconsciously suppress the image of one eye and often, but not always, alternate between both eyes. I also used to see like that but because of extreme studying habits slowly broke through my suppression. So I went to an ophthalmologist who suggested, as they almost always do, surgery. This exacerbated the problem since it does absolutely nothing to change the underlying neurological problem and in unlucky cases inflicts quite a lot of physical trauma. As far as…Read more …

What other visual anomalies do amblyopes have besides poor stereopsis or reduced visual acuity?

Amblyopia (lazy eye) is the incomplete development of binocular or two-eyed vision in the brain. The most well-known symptoms of amblyopia are the lack of 3D vision (stereopsis) and reduced visual acuity. Notwithstanding, amblyopes also often have other visual anomalies besides poor stereopsis or reduced visual acuity. May also be affected: • poorer contrast sensitivity (sometimes just high spatial frequencies, central vision) Most patients with amblyopia have reduced contrast sensitivity, in addition to poor visual acuity. The visual anomaly can differ, however if the amblyopia is caused by strabismus or optical defocus. Strabismic…Read more …
If Vision Therapy were an alternative treatment, what exactly is it an alternative to?

If Vision Therapy were an alternative treatment, what exactly is it an alternative to?

Nothing annoys me more than someone calling developmental or behavioral optometry ‘alternative medicine’. What exactly is it an alternative to? Cutting into peoples eye muscles leaving them with an even greater challeng e to overcome? Too often poor eye control is blamed on the muscles surrounding the eyes and surgery is advised to alter the length of the muscles. The cause of strabismus however is at the cortical level (in the brain) and cutting the eye muscles is rarely of benefit other than in rare cases of paralysis or partial paralysis of muscles. In too…Read more …

“How do you explain to friends and family that you are turning into a psycho because your eyes are changing?”

As strabismus is essentially a brain problem, it touches more than vision alone. During my research I found lists of symptoms which in hindsight all make sense, one being 'emotional problems and anxiety'. This is true and during therapy the changes in your sight and brain make this symptom even more apparent. Heather Essex Thomas put it in a very funny way: "So I am very excited about all the changes that have been going on. But I am being to feel very emotional and a bit unsteady. Not sure what to think…Read more …
How to rehabilitate a lazy eye while promoting binocularity?

How to rehabilitate a lazy eye while promoting binocularity?

According to my research traditional amblyopia treatment (patching the dominant eye) is not beneficial for eye teaming and what it might do for the acuity in a lazy eye it will destroy on the binocular front. Moreover, improvements in acuity will often only be of a temporary nature and be lost once patching treatment is stopped because the visual system will go back to its old ways and mostly ignore that particular eye's input. Patching is as ineffective as it is impractical. So what's to be done?  If you want to promote integrating the amblyopic  eye into the visual system, you have to use it while putting the dominant eye…Read more …