By Susan Chow, PhD, ELS
The treatment of strabismus depends on the specific signs and symptoms experienced by the patient. The severity and impact on quality of life also guide the treatment decisions.
The initial step in the management of the condition typically involves the prescription of glasses, if needed. Following this, treatment of the abnormal eye may be required to improve vision, which usually consists of vision therapy, such as the wearing of a patch or eye exercises. In some cases, surgery to the eye muscles may be required if other therapies do not offer adequate improvement to vision.
Eyeglasses or Contact Lenses
It is common for patients with strabismus to suffer from farsightedness, particularly those with esotropia, which can be corrected by wearing glasses or contact lenses.
This is the first step in the management of the condition, and some patients may find that their symptoms improve entirely with this simple step, such as those with mild esotropic strabismus. The corrective lenses help the eyes to focus on objects with less effort, which improves their ability to remain aligned correctly.
Prism lenses are sometimes prescribed to change the light that enters the eye, which reduces the distance the eye needs to move to focus on objects in the field of vision. This helps to improve the symptoms of strabismus because the eyes are able to focus more easily, thus reducing the degree of turning of the eye.
Vision therapy may include a number of different exercises and activities that are designed to improve the movement, coordination and focus of the eyes. It aims to train the eyes and brain to work together more coherently, improving the vision and reducing the symptoms of the condition.
A common exercise that helps to improve the symptoms for many patients is to wear a patch over the normal eye. This forces the “lazy” eye to work harder in order to allow the individual to see properly. After the eye has been “trained” the patch can be removed and both eyes are often aligned more closely.
Eye exercises can improve abnormalities of the eyes and encourage healthy alignment. These should be practiced on a regular basis and adults with the condition may need to continue these exercises indefinitely.
Eye Muscle Surgery
Surgical procedures can be used to manipulate the length and positioning of the muscles in and around the eyes to improve the alignment of the eyes. The methodology involves changing the functionality of the muscles in the eyes to alter the alignment of the eyes. It is a relatively short procedure that can be completed within an hour.
This procedure can help to improve symptoms and is sometimes the only method that can help patients to improve the cosmetic appearance of the condition, which affects the individual’s confidence and willingness to participate in social activities.
Last Updated: Nov 22, 2015