When good is bad

Most people who developed strabismus in childhood have learned to compensate by alternating the drift from one eye to the other, by repressing one eye, or both. This enables us to see, and that is good. But it is also bad. The info presented here is my own paraphrase of things I’ve learned as a patient from various doctors, combined with changes I’ve experienced in my vision through the years.

My understanding is that while our eyes may have a tendency to wander, it’s our brain that gives them “permission” to drift. Rather than taking charge, our brain begins repressing (ignoring) the cues it receives from the eye that is not currently in focus. It’s almost like our brain lets our eyes be the boss!

Our eyes must work together to provide 3-dimentional vision. When we are limited to one eye, our depth perception (3-d or stereo vision) suffers. One eye may become permanently drifted, causing cosmetic as well as vision problems. Reading difficulties, increasing eye strain, and other problems can develop.

I was able to use both eyes most of the time at first. But as I aged, both eyes began to have more turns being dominant and more turns resting. For several months before my surgery in May of this year, my eyes felt like they were fighting each other. They were both used to having a dominant turn as well as a resting turn. As things worsened, both still wanted to see but neither felt like carrying the load. They were almost like some people I’ve met: Both wanted to run the show but neither wanted to do the work!

The eye muscle surgery freed my eyes to work together. Both eyes feel more rested and with less tension. But the years of permissiveness has taught them to work independently. Now, that the surgery has freed them to work together, you’d think they’d latch onto each other and cooperate to help me see. Yet sometimes they seem to repel each other like two magnets with south poles facing.

My doctors have provided some treatment options that are very promising. Things are improving and I’m expecting to get better. I’ll keep you updated. But I wanted to share this to encourage everyone with strabismus to get help before your brain/eye pathways develop such bad behavior!

See:
Strabismus options…how do I choose? for info on where to find help.

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