Tyler first came to our practice in November 2020. He is a 5 year old boy with a history of an eye turn that was addressed by eye muscle surgery. Before the eye muscle surgery, Tyler’s eyes were reported to turn inward. Since the surgery his eyes now drift outward. Tyler started reporting double vision that was occurring daily and his parents noticed that he would squint his eyes when he was trying to look up close.
The video below was captured during his initial evaluation. What you will see is that Tyler has difficulty using both of his eyes together and one of his eyes is drifting outward. He can see clearly but he sees double, a condition called diplopia. The only way that he can fix it is by closing one eye.
Tyler would be considered a successful surgical case since the measured deviation of his two eyes are within the definition of success for strabismus surgery. While the physical alignment was acceptable, experiencing double vision is unacceptable. Tyler’s eye surgeon (a pediatric ophthalmologist) referred Tyler to our practice in hopes that we could help him. We give his surgeon a great deal of credit for referring Tyler as, unfortunately, it is not common for pediatric ophthalmologists to refer for vision therapy. Optometrists trained in vision therapy understand the visual system beyond the eyeball. Optometric vision therapy works on the brain’s ability to use both eyes together. Pediatric ophthalmologists are experts in the structure of the eye while optometrists are experts in the function of vision in the brain. Working together can often lead to great outcomes. Tyler’s eyes were physically closer together after his eye muscle surgery but his brain did not understand how to combine the images because he never learned how to have single vision during his early years of vision development. Vision development is a process that occurs in all children. Vision is not well developed at birth and that is a rapid maturation and we expect to see a solid foundation of visual skills by 12 months of age. When that development is interrupted it can lead to visual dysfunctions such as strabismus (eye turn) and amblyopia (lazy eye) among other diagnoses.
Tyler began vision therapy in December 2020. He was seen in April 2021 and we are thrilled to share his progress with you. Tyler is able to use both of his eyes together with ease and no longer has any double vision!