Strabismus and Amblyopia Assessments and Vision Therapy
Strabismus (also called squint or crossed eyes) is a kind of binocular vision disorder. These refer to the conditions that the eyes cannot form as a team to focus accurately at different distances. Binocular vision coordination is essential to many daily activities, including reading, computer usage and playing ball games. However, it is estimated that over 30% of schoolchildren and adults have binocular vision problems. Some of them may even experience reading difficulties and double vision.
Below are the possible symptoms of binocular vision disorders:
- Tiredness and difficult to concentrate when reading
- Difficult to switch focus between far and near objects
- Fluctuating vision, skipping lines and missing words when reading
- Prefer covering one eye when seeing things
- Need to use fingers to help reading
- Difficult to trace a moving object
- Squint or crossed eyes
- Dislike reading or poor academic performance
- Difficult to hit or catch the ball in ball games
Amblyopia or lazy eye refers to the condition that a non-diseased eye can only achieve ≤70% of normal vision after the eye is properly corrected. It is caused by a disruption of visual development, commonly due to in-born strong farsightedness, astigmatisms and squint. In general, lazy eye patients only have one of their eyes being affected. They can still see clearly with their normal fellow eye and this makes the parents unaware of their children’s lazy eye problem during the critical treatment period. If the lazy eye is not treated in-time, the compromised vision may cause the child to lose 3D vision, affecting his or her daily lives and sports performance.
To treat crossed eyes and binocular vision disorders, surgery is not the only option. Vision therapy is a non-surgical method to train up the stamina and agility of different pairs of eye muscles, so that the eyes are strong enough to stay straight and cope with the daily visual needs. We will design tailor-made vision therapy based on the case presentations and utilize fun exercises, tools and specially-designed computer software for children to engage and participate better.
For lazy eyes, since the eyesight development normally ends at 6-7 years old, it also marks a critical period of treating lazy eyes as before 7 years old. It is crucial to treat lazy eyes in-time for a significantly lower treatment difficulty and shorter treatment duration. The first step of treating lazy eyes usually involves glasses for full vision correction and sometimes we need eye patches to cover the good eye to further stimulate the lazy eye to catch up. Scientists and experts used to believe that it is not possible to treat lazy eyes after 7 years old. But recently there is mounting evidence supporting that there is no age limit on lazy eye treatment, lazy eyes can still be improved even when the patient reaches adulthood. Besides conventional patching therapy, we can also make use of specially-developed computer games that are based on the novel ‘dichoptic visual training’ principle. The children have so much fun in the games that it even makes children in love with doing the training.