September 10, 2008,
V.S. asks from Lima, OH on September 03, 2008
6 Month Old with Strabismus
My daughter is currently 6 months old and she has been diagnosed with Strabismus in her eyes. She has been crossing both of them ever since she was born. She has been seen by a Pediatric Opthamologist and was given a prescription for glasses. The doctor thinks the strabismus could be caused by a focusing problem. The glasses are quite strong and started to bring the eyes back out at first, but now they are back to their normal crossed place again. I would think that after having the glasses for 3 months it would have made some sort of an improvement, but they haven't. The doctor told us at her last appointment that since she has been doing a good job of keeping her glasses on, then he was going to see her in another 3 months and see how she is doing. She now will not keep her glasses on. He said if her eyes are not making any improvement, then she will more than likely need surgery because it would be a muscle problem and not a focusing one, but will find out more this November.
My question is this, I read online where a lot of infants had surgery and ended up needing like 2-3 more surgeries after that because it takes more than 1 surgery to get them corrected. Is this correct? I cannot believe that the doctor wouldn't mention this and I would get a second opinion, but from what I have read online there is no other way to treat strabismus other than glasses, a patch or surgery. The patch won't work because both eyes are bad. The doctor has her prescription of glasses at +4 OD & +4 OS. I believe my OD & OS are like .5 and my eyes are almost 20/20 so I cannot imagine how bad her eyes are.
My husband's family had the same trouble, but I do not think they were diagnosed with strabismus. His sister & niece both had crossed eyes when they were born, but was corrected by a patch. Lazy eye runs in my family. The doctor said that even after the surgery, she will need to wear glasses because her eyes are really bad.
I feel so bad for my daughter because I really do not want her to get the surgery because I would hate for her to go "under the knife". Has anybody here every had this problem? I try to stay positive about this because it will help her out in the long run, but all I do when I think about her having surgery is what bad could happen and I just start crying.
Please somebody help me. Any advice at this point will do!!!
So What Happened?™
We do not see the dr until November, so until then it is a waiting game. I got some very good suggestions from a few people that went to the Cleveland Clinic. I will see if my insurance covers them and if they do, I will try to get my daughter in there. Thank you to all of you that responded!!!!!
J.L. answers from Cleveland on September 04, 2008
I can tell you that I do not know much about strabismus...but I have nystagmus. I recently found someone who is doing research on both and may be what you need to help you decide what to do. Email me and I will give you the specifics if you are interested.
D.G. answers from Columbus on September 04, 2008
My Nephew had this problem as a infant and got his first glasses at 3 months old, at 9 months he had his first surgery,a second around 6 years old and his last in junior high school.He is now 25 and still wears glasses but see's much better now. It was a muscle problem with him they said but it was suppose to have been a inherited thing , no one on either side of the family has had that problem. I detected it at 2 months old but my sister thought I was crazy, she said all babies eyes look a bit crossed some times. I told her she was wrong and we took him to a specialist.We later found out that a drug the Doctor gave her when he wouldn't believe she was pregnant had caused the problem. Childrens hospital paid for all of his eye surgeries and my sister has sued the Dr.
K.D. answers from Cleveland on September 04, 2008
My mom could probably answer this better! LOL I was little and had strabismus. I had surgery and was fine didn't need classes till I was in 3rd grade I have a really high prescription (my parents both have a less prescription then I do! LOL) and were contacts now that I am 25. I have worn contacts since I was 16. I haven't had to have any more surgeries but have been told my eye still goes off when I am tired. So the dr said if it gets worse I could need the surgery. I hope not!!! I have 3 kids of my own to take care of now! Anyhow to do these excerises with my eyes focusing on a pencil and moving it around. So I have been doing that when I think of it. To streghthen the muscle in the eye.
Hope that helps!! My mom said that was one of her hardest days me going into surgery at I believe 4. I came out and when I did wake up I yelled that she lied to me. Said it broke her heart. She had told me I only needed one shoot.. lol I got 2! I guess I was mad at her! So then she was really sad! LOL funny to look back now!
K.T. answers from Columbus on September 03, 2008
My sister has 3 kids ... 2 of which have had surgery for strabismus at a very young age. Her oldest son, who is now almost 20 years old, actually had surgery two or three times and after wearing glasses for a while, he is now perfectly fine. Her daughter, who just turned 18, had surgery once and she has worn glasses or contacts for most of her life. I'm sure it's a tough decision to make to put your daughter "under the knife", but I'm certain you'll know you made the right decision.
B.B. answers from Indianapolis on September 04, 2008
Our Pediatric Opthalmologist is David Plager, and he's EXCELLENT.
Our oldest daughter - her left eye started crossing about at 1.5-2 years old, and we took her to see him. The first thing we tried was glasses. Well, her left eye started staying straight, but her right eye then started crossing.
We had the surgery done, and it seems to have done the job. She still wears glasses, but her eyes aren't crossing anymore. They did tell us that it might take 2-3 times to "get it right" - and I asked him how long a period of time were we talking about? Meaning, over the course of a year, two years, what? He said "as long as she's growing" - so she could need that 2nd surgery (or maybe even 3rd) anytime before she's 18.
Yes, the surgery was hard to endure - mostly for us parents, but she was a champ! And you're right - you have to just keep telling yourself that it's in the child's best interest. We hated having tubes put in her ears too, but it helped her so much, and she hardly had any ear infections while she had them in (where she was having them ALL the time beforehand).
K.V. answers from Columbus on September 05, 2008
Dear V.: I am an adult with a lazy eye that should have been surically corrected but was not. It has caused problems for me my whole life. I was picked on as a child and have had issues with adult relationships as a result. The patch will only work to strenghthen the muscles of the eyes to a certain exent. It the degree to which the eye turns is to high only surgery will correct the problem. And you are right it can take more than one surgery to correct the problem. It is better to have the surgery earlier in life than later as it can effect depth perception. ( I have none.)
Please see a specialist at childrens as they are the best in the area.
I have looked into having the surgery as an adult but insurance will not cover it at my age and its now considered a cosmetic procedure.
My friends son had his surgery with a specialist at Children's and they helped pay for most of the procedure as they did not have insurance. Good luck.
H.H. answers from Cincinnati on September 04, 2008
Hi, V. -
I was diagnosed with strabismus when I was about 5. I was having lots of headaches while reading and I had 2 lazy eyes that would either turn in or turn out, depending on how tired I was.
At the time I was diagnosed, in the early 70s, I was apparently at the top of the age range for whom they could do anything about it, so they felt lucky they caught it then. I had surgery to correct the problem, and my eyes have been nicely in line ever since - no wandering, no fatigue, and every opthamologist I've ever seen since then has been astounded at what an incredible job my surgeon did.
I don't have great vision - but that's not the fault of the strabismus. So, I do wear glasses or contacts (my vision is 20/450 -- yeah, that's right. I am severely nearsighted). But, other than that, everything is perfectly normal for me.
I had to wear patches after the surgery to strengthen my eyes, and that went on for a while - maybe 6 months? I was only 5, so it's hard to remember. I know that I did not like the surgery, but what child would? But the recovery wasn't too painful - maybe just a day or two of discomfort. They shortened the muscles of my eyes (I think?), and overcorrected them, so I was sort of cross-eyed and saw double for a little while (a week? a couple days??) as the eyes straightened back out.
Anyway, I KNOW it must have been torture for my Mom to subject me to the surgery, though nobody let on how scared they might have been. I have been very grateful that they took the risk.
I can only imagine how much technology has progressed since 1976, and even back then the procedure wasn't too terrible. I would encourage you to seek multiple opinions on this from a variety of surgeons - see who's the best in the area, shop around. This is a lifetime decision. And then, if surgery is recommended, I would go for it, with the comfort of knowing that technology is on your side and doctors can do marvelous things these days.
B.R. answers from Columbus on September 03, 2008
When my daughter was 2, she started being treated for "lazy eye". We patched on and off for 3 years according to the schedule, but it never helped. Even though the eye itself was perfectly healthy,and she could see with it when the other eye was covered, she was considered legally blind in that eye because it didn't function with the other-the brain has turned it off. It really ruins depth perception. At 5, the dr. said there's no use patching anymore, but that surgery had a 50/50 chance of correcting it for cosmetic reasons only. When he told me about the ordeal of surgery, the oozing, crusting, etc., I said absolutely not, especially for such a low effectiveness rate for cosmetic reasons only. I didn't want to put her through that and risk the sight she did have.
At 21, she decided to have the surgery for the cosmetic reasons, and it was bad. She had double vision for more weeks than was predicted and it was miserable healing from the surgery. She was scared. Finally, though, it turned out good for awhile, in that her lazy eye was straight and she thought her vision improved. However, 3 years later, her eye is starting to stray again and become "lazy". So any benefit seems to have been shortlived. I don't consider it to have been worth it, but at least she was an adult and made her own choice. She has said she will not have another surgery.
Now, if your daughter has 2 lazy eyes, can she see at all? You may not have a choice to leave well enough alone, but the success rate from the surgery does not seem too good, from what I found doing research. She is so little, find out what harm will be done if you wait, but keep patching or wearing glasses, etc. so it doesn't worsen. I know that the longer you wait to do these non invasive things, the worse it gets and less likely that it can be corrected. You caught it young, so that's in your favor. Good luck.
M.B. answers from Cleveland on September 04, 2008
I had strabismus as a child. I wore glasses until jr. high and then I had two sugeries. I'm now 41 and aside from aging issues, my eyesight is great. I've never worn glasses or contacts. She doesn't HAVE to have the surgery right away. This isn't a life and death situation. It sounds like your dr. is being cautious, that he wants to try the least invasive treatment first. Talk to the dr. and go ahead and look for a second opinion. And then, when you are all ready and IF you want to go ahead, you can do the surgery when she's older. You have lots of time to figure out what to do, though the younger she is, the easier it will be to recover. But still, you could wait several years.