Cross-eyed, medically known as strabismus, refers to a condition in which eyes are misaligned. It commonly occurs when the muscles that control eye movement are not properly working together. The result is one or both eyes turning inward- esotropia, or outward- exotropia. Strabismus is usually diagnosed during childhood and affects about 4 percent of children, afflicting boys and girls equally. Though it cannot be prevented, its complications can be avoided with early intervention. Even if you notice symptoms intermittently – when your child is ill, stressed, or fatigued – your child should be evaluated.
Amblyopia is the medical term for the condition commonly known as lazy eye. Amblyopia is a developmental vision disorder that occurs in early childhood- usually due to a high prescription in one eye, or strabismus. The hallmark characteristic of amblyopia is reduced vision even with the best possible glasses prescription. However, people with amblyopia often have difficulty focusing, inaccurate eye movements, and reduced depth perception. Recent research has shown that the better-seeing eye “suppresses” or dims information from the amblyopic eye, and treatment that involves reducing suppression and developing 3-D vision may be more effective than patching alone.
Vision therapy is an effective treatment option for strabismus and amblyopia. While these conditions respond to treatment most rapidly at a young age, the adult brain has significant neuroplasticity, and strabismus and amblyopia can be treated at any age. A vision therapy-based approach to treating amblyopia involves training each eye to have equally efficient visual skills, anti-suppression techniques to make sure both eyes are working, techniques to develop 3-D vision and awareness of space, and training the eyes to maintain alignment when looking close and far.