As developmental optometrists, we often get asked to compare the pros and cons of eye muscle surgery vs vision therapy for our patients with strabismus (eye turn). In this particular case I will highlight a patient who has had multiple eye alignment surgeries throughout childhood, and then pursued vision therapy later as issues arose.
I first saw Hannah in November after receiving a referral from a local ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist reached out because Hannah was in town for issues post strabismus surgery. Hannah’s most recent eye alignment surgery was in July. This was her eighth surgery to align her eyes with the first occurring when she was 20 months old.
At our first visit together, Hannah complained of constant double vision since surgery in July. The doubling was worsened at distance and with fatigue. She stated occasionally seeing double before the last surgery, but she was able to correct it. This was no longer the case. Hannah, who was 17, was especially concerned by the recent onset of double vision because it interfered with her ability to safely do the things she loved. She found that playing soccer, participating in PE, and driving her car were all now difficult.
My examination found that each eye could see “20/20” and was structurally healthy. Her eyes even appeared aligned post surgery. Despite these findings, her brain was having trouble combining the images from each eye.
After eight sessions of hard work in vision therapy, home exercises, and many hours of driving from her mom, Hannah returned to me with resolved double vision. She is now entering her senior year of high school able to play soccer and drive herself to school and practice. She is happy to have her eyes and brain working as a team again.
If you or a loved one has strabismus and have had eye alignment surgery or are considering surgery, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. All of our doctors would be happy to provide you with potential alternative treatment options and discuss which may be right for you and your family.
Dr. Kelsey Manescalco