Strabismus

Strabismus occurs when the eyes are not pointing in the same direction. Any of these alignment problems will cause a deficit in depth perception. Oftentimes, strabismus is interpreted as an eye muscle problem. However, it really is an eye-brain problem which affects the eye muscles.
Before vs after vision therapy

Signs of strabismus

  • Exotropia – an eye points outward too far, out of alignment with the other eye
  • Esotropia – an eye points inward too far
  • Hypertropia – an eye points up or downward more than the other eye

Symptoms of strabismus

There are many potential symptoms, depending on the type and frequency of strabismus. These symptoms may include:

  • Covering or closing an eye
  • Rubbing eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Avoiding near work
  • Poor depth perception
  • Fear of heights
  • Clumsy / poor motor control

Treatment for strabismus: Since there is no age limit to learning, we believe that strabismus therapy can be effective for patients of any age.

  • Glasses may be prescribed to help the brain use both eyes better together.
  • Vision therapy involves neuro-feedback, giving the brain the opportunity to learn to see with both eyes open. Patients with strabismus may also have difficulties with other areas of visual processing (see above), which also will be addressed with vision therapy.
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Amblyopia: Poorer vision in one eye compared to the other - represented through a red-lens being unable to see red marker, but can see green

Amblyopia

Amblyopia is a developmental neurological disorder of binocular vision resulting in reduced vision and depth perception.

Signs of amblyopia

Amblyopia may be present with the following conditions:

  • Strabismus – if an eye turn is present, the turned eye often has poorer vision.
  • High glasses prescription – if one eye needs excessive focusing effort to see clearly and the other eye sees without effort, this often results in amblyopia.

Symptoms of amblyopia

There are many potential symptoms, depending on the underlying condition(s) and intensity of suppression. These symptoms may include:

  • Covering or closing an eye
  • Rubbing eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Avoiding near work
  • Poor depth perception
  • Fear of heights
  • Clumsy / poor motor control

Treatment for amblyopia

Amblyopia does not mean a child has one “good” eye and one “bad” eye. Rather, both eyes typically have reduced visual function. Depth perception, focusing, and eye movements are typically lacking in both eyes, not just the amblyopic eye.

Amblyopia therapy aims at improving the vision while both eyes are open.

Special glasses may be prescribed to improve the patient’s ability to use both eyes together. For patients with a large prescription difference between the eyes, traditional glasses can create an image size difference, which is very confusing for the brain.

  • Our office prescribes Shaw Lenses which minimizes this image size difference, dramatically improving a patient’s ability to bring the images together in the brain.
  • Contact lenses also minimize this image size difference. Talk with Dr. Carter regarding these options.

Vision therapy gives the patient neuro-feedback, which helps their ability to use both eyes together. We utilize interactive games and activities to improve the brain’s awareness and utilization of both eyes. Lenses, prisms, and colored filters are utilized to improve the patient’s vision and eye-teaming while both eyes are open.

Prevention of amblyopia

Article link: a new look at amblyopia therapyAmblyopia is often not diagnosed until a child is in elementary school. Our doctor strongly suggests that children follow the American Optometric Association’s recommendations for eye exam frequency:

  • First exam at 6 to 12 months old
  • Next exam at 2 to 3 years old
  • Pre-school exam at 5 years old
  • Every year thereafter while in school
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