Strabismus surgery in older adults: for better or for worse?

Surgical instrumentsAs I aged, my strabismus took its toll. The time I was able to focus to read or do close-up work became shorter and shorter. My major goal for surgery was to at least partly restore my ability to read for an extended amount of time. My surgeon felt we sould be able to accomplish this. Unfortunately that didn’t happen for me. Instead, after my first strabismus surgery in May of 2005, I had a torsion in one eye.

My second strabismus surgery, to correct the torsion, was done on January 4, 2007. Right after the surgery, things seemed much better. But by mid-March, my vision started rapidly falling apart again. I have the torsion still, as well as the exotropia. In addition, I now have a significant hypertropia (vertical double vision), and my exotropia has changed to a V pattern, which means I see better when I bend my head downward.

I’ve not been able to get back in to see my surgeon since the day after the surgery, as his schedule has not permitted it. I have my first post-op visit end of this month (April). My local Developmental Optometrist has been working with me with some vision therapy exercises I can do at home. But the vision therapy is much harder now than it was before my surgery.

My surgeon is highly recommended. He writes regularly for Ophthalmology journals, and is very knowledgeable in his field. I’ve heard many good stories about him. He did his best for me, but it just hasn’t worked.

On 11/18/05, shared details of a study published in the Journal of American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS). The study focused on the success of Strabismus surgery in older adults, and noted that adults as old as 90 can be helped with this surgery.

But the only way to approach Strabismus surgery is to take it for better or for worse. If it is better, as it seems to be for many, that will be wonderful. But if it is worse, be prepared to accept the challenge and continue onward. Life is a lot more than what I see. It is who I am and who God is teaching me to be. Life is exciting, it is bigger than strabismus, and great to be part of it, so lets roll!

Update 6-23-07 — My strabismus much better now. I just posted a report to the blog: Seeing beyond strabismus

Photo credit: Phil Beard

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