Adult Strabismus Treatment in Oklahoma City
What Is Adult Strabismus?
Strabismus is the term used to describe any misalignment of the eyes in which the eyes fail to work in tandem to focus on and track objects correctly. While strabismus is a common pediatric eye condition, it can also affect adults, causing them to experience somewhat different symptoms and unique problems as compared to younger patients. Dean McGee Eye Institute diagnoses and treats patients with adult strabismus. With strabismus, when one eye is focused straight ahead, the other will turn in, out, up, or down. For adults, this turning can cause doublevision, inability to localize objects, loss of depth perception, and other debilitating visual problems. The appearance of the misaligned eye can also negatively impact a person’s emotional well-being and social interactions. DMEI offers multiple treatment options for adult strabismus. In most cases, insurance carriers will cover strabismus treatment because it is considered medically necessary. If you have concerns about adult strabismus, we encourage you to call 405.271.6060 or 800.787.9012 today to request an appointment with one of our adult strabismus doctors.
What Causes Double Vision & Adult Strabismus?
Strabismus occurs when there is an abnormality in the muscles or nerves associated with eye movement or with their connection to the brain. While it is not always possible to identify the origin of strabismus, some common causes of strabismus in adults include:
- Childhood strabismus that was not corrected or has recurred.
- Various Neurological Conditions
- Thyroid Eye Disease
- The Aging Process
What Are the Symptoms of Adult Strabismus?
The classic indicator of strabismus is the visible turning of an eye (although sometimes the misalignment is small enough that it is not cosmetically visible). Children with strabismus often experience less direct visual disturbance because their brains can ignore visual input from the turned eye. Adults with strabismus often experience additional symptoms, including:
- Double-Vision (Diplopia) – Seeing two images of the same object when there should only be one
- Visual Confusion – Seeing two different images superimposed onto each other.
- Image Jump – Images captured in the field of view change significantly as focus shifts from one eye to the other.
- Abnormal Head Posture – Adults with strabismus often turn their faces or tilt their heads to compensate for double vision.
- Loss of Depth Perception – This may result in problems with hand-eye coordination, driving or parking a car, or various athletic activities.
How Is Adult Strabismus Diagnosed?
A comprehensive eye examination is needed to diagnose adult strabismus. We’ll evaluate your symptoms and your eye movements to determine your diagnosis. Our experienced DMEI qualified eye doctors can properly diagnose and treat your type of strabismus.
Treatments for Adult Strabismus
There are different approaches to treating adult strabismus depending on its cause and severity, but they all have the same goal of restoring binocular vision. Treatment options include:
- The use of a prism in eyeglasses to correct double vision
- Eye exercises (orthoptics)
- Injections of botulinum toxin (Botox)
- Appropriate eye glasses or contact lens prescription
Adult Strabismus Surgery
Surgery might be recommended if the misalignment cannot be corrected using other methods. During strabismus surgery, the eyelids are held open by a lid speculum. Your surgeon gains access to the eye muscles by making a small incision in the conjunctiva, the thin layer of transparent tissue covering the white part of the eye. The eye muscles may be strengthened, weakened, repositioned or otherwise altered depending on your particular needs and the judgment of your surgeon. At no point is the eyeball removed. Surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis, and most patients return to regular activity within a week.
In some cases, a surgeon will use an adjustable suture technique in which a temporary knot is used. This knot is left accessible so that the surgeon can use it to adjust eye alignment after surgery. Such adjusting is usually done while the patient is awake and can be performed within a day after surgery. The use of adjustable sutures can increase the ability of the surgeon to achieve correct alignment and may decrease the need to perform muscle surgery on that eye again. Some patients may be required to continue other treatment protocols, such as glasses or exercises, after strabismus surgery, and some may need additional surgeries.
Amblyopia vs. Strabismus
Many people confuse strabismus with amblyopia, or lazy eye. Strabismus simply refers to the misalignment of the eyes, whatever the cause. Amblyopia means the brain has not developed the ability to see images clearly in one or both eyes. Amblyopia patients don’t achieve complete visual clarity, and while glasses or contact lenses can help, they won’t restore perfectly normal vision. Strabismus is a common cause of amblyopia due to the brain ignoring visual signals from the misaligned eye. The brain essentially suppresses information from one or both eyes, causing a lazy eye.
Adult Strabismus Doctors at the Dean McGee Eye Institute
It takes specially-trained physicians to treat adult strabismus effectively. Since strabismus is much more common in children, pediatric ophthalmologists have significant experience treating it and often treat adult strabismus. In addition, neuro-ophthalmologists, with their expertise in the neuro-muscular systems of the eye, also regularly treat strabismus. At the Dean McGee Eye Institute, we have the only practice in the region with a team composed of both types of ophthalmologists. If you’re suffering from double vision, crossed eyes, or have other symptoms of strabismus, contact us today. Visit our online directory of providers who treat adult strabismus to learn more about our team, or call 405.271.1091 or 800.787.9013 to request your appointment today.