Two sides of strabismus: Social struggles and straining to see

---Ask strabismus sufferers what is the hardest thing they endure, and many will say it is social trauma and low self-esteem. But others will say the vison problems are the hardest.

Those with a permanently turned eye look into the mirror and the person who looks back at them cannot look them straight in the eye. They have been made the brunt of jokes and teasing. They have often been shunned, turned down for jobs they could do well, and left out of social gatherings.

But others have strabismus that is less noticeable. They can hold both eyes fairly straight part of the time. Often the drift alternates from one eye to the other. This is the type of strabismus I have. Those with a permanent drift learn to see quite well with the straighter eye. But because our visual field is constantly changing, depending on whether both eyes are straight, or which eye is out, and to what degree, it’s harder for us to see with the various eye arrangements. The struggle to see is often the primary issue for us.

Whichever type of strabismus we have, the drifting and vision problems tend to worsen as we get older. There are no easy answers. Even the doctors who treat us are unable to guarantee success. There are hard questions, such as “Should I have surgery (or more surgery)?” “Will vision therapy help?” “Where should I start?”

This website provides some perspectives and resources. If you are feeling down about your eyes, my suggestion would be to start with the Inspirations section. Then explore the other areas from the right menu. Get opinions from medical experts in the various specialties related to vision. You are worth every effort it takes to get the help you need!

Photo credit: Joseph Sebastian

2 thoughts on “Two sides of strabismus: Social struggles and straining to see”

  1. Lois, I am 46 years old and still struggle with how others converse with me view my abilities due to myright eye wandering inward. In the last three years my eyesight has gone down hill. I had two eye surgery’s as achild/ One at three and another at five. I also have a droopy left eyelid. Iwas supposed to wear glasses all my life but did not start until about 42. Doctors never told me to wear glasses up until the last few years. I have also been told it is too late to help correct the way my eyes function. My self esteem is at an all time low as if it could go any lower. Can you give me some advice here!! Is it too late to do anything due to my age? Are there any other folks I can turn to for much needed support or advice? Thankyou, Katrina

  2. Katrina,

    I’ll be 60 this year. It’s never too late to get help. That doesn’t mean we can always get our eyes fixed perfectly. But there is help.

    I had both surgery and vision therapy just last year. I continue to struggle with vision problems in spite of this. But this is partly due to my rosacea which greatly affects my eyes. My goal has been to get the best I can out of what I have to work with, and to do the best I can with what I get.

    My recommendations to you would be to see a vision therapy doctor as well as an eye surgeon to see what they have to offer (see links in the sidebar). You’re going to need spiritual strength as well. Years ago I found a lot of spiritual help through Bible Study Fellowship International. You may want to check this website out or talk with a local pastor.

    I’ve also enjoyed being part of an online strabismus support group. See my July 14, 2005 post. That group is not related to Eyes Apart, and I am not very active there, but there are others with strabismus who will understand what you are experiencing and offer help.

    Best to you,
    Lois

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