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Strabismus treatment options include surgical, pharmacological, and physical treatments to address a crossed or straying eye. In all cases, early intervention is key. The sooner the problem is identified, the more treatment options will be available to the patient, and the more effective the treatment will be. Treatment for patients with strabismus is usually overseen by an ophthalmologist and may involve surgeons and other specialists as well, depending on the specifics of a patient's case.
In strabismus, the patient's eyes fail to align as a result of weakness or other problems with the eye muscles. In addition to attracting attention because it makes the patient's eyes look peculiar, this also impairs vision and can cause eye strain and discomfort. All forms of strabismus treatment are designed to realign the eyes and hold them in place so patients will develop normal vision.
Doctors usually recommend starting with minimally invasive techniques. These methods are less traumatic and carry fewer risks. For low-grade strabismus, wearing glasses can sometimes correct the problem by encouraging the patient's eye muscles to develop. Eye patches may be used to cover the good eye, forcing the patient's bad eye to work harder and strengthening the eye muscles in the process.
Patients can also be given medications designed to blur the good eye or make other changes in the vision. Botox® is also used therapeutically in the treatment of strabismus. Eye exercises can be combined with any or all of these options to develop better coordination between the eyes and improve muscle strength. Sometimes, these strabismus treatment options may be enough, allowing the patient to make a full recovery.
In other cases, it may be necessary to turn to surgery to reposition the eye muscles. For certain patients, surgery may be recommended from the start if it is believed to be the best option. For adult strabismus surgery, the surgery is usually done as an outpatient procedure with a local anesthetic. For children, who may find surgery upsetting or traumatic, a general anesthesia is used to allow the surgeon to work safely on the patient. After surgery, eye exercises may be needed to redevelop the muscles, and the patient's eyes should be able to line up properly.
When diagnosed with strabismus, people should discuss all available strabismus treatment options and get advice and recommendations about the options best suited to their cases. It can be helpful to ask how long treatment will take and what the risks associated with a given treatment are, so people can make an informed choice about the strabismus treatment method or methods they want to pursue.
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