Son Had Strabismus

Updated on November 12, 2008
M.R. asks from Grand Junction, CO
18 answers

I have been having my son evaluated for frequency and severity of his "lazy eye". Yesterday, his vision checked out fine, but he's got the one eye that spends most of it's time looking elsewhere. He can bring it in if you give him something up close to focus on, but he has a great deal of trouble aligning both eyes without concentrating on it.

His opthamologist recommended surgery yesterday to lengthen the muscle on the outside of his eye. I know some cases are treated without surgery. Prisms in glasses to retrain the eye, that sort of thing. They didn't suggest this. Maybe his case is too severe.

I am SO scared for my 4 year old baby! They thought of him being pumped full of meds to knock out his little body petrifies me. The thought of his eye being ruined scares me even worse. He's SO bright. He JUST turned 4 last month and he's writing letters, sounding out words.... He's SO sweet and SO thoughtful. I started having nightmares about little kids teasing him when he starts school, calling him "retard" and "crazy-eye" and "freak." I know surgery may be unavoidable, but has ANYBODY else dealt with this type of surgery? I was also told that lengthening the outside muscle leads to a possibility of the eye turning inward, which is more harmful.

ANY ADVICE, EXPERIENCE, WORDS OF COMFORT WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!

My 2 1/2 year old son also has the same problem, but it's not as severe. The doctor made him an appointment again for 6 months from now, but I'm afraid he's heading the same direction.

HELP! I'm am scared for my little boy and don't feel like I'm informed enough to go through with it at this point. I would go looking on the internet, but I don't want to freak myself out before I have some sound advice.

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B.K.

answers from Denver on

This subject is very near and dear to my heart. My son was diagnosed with a congential cataract when he was 6 months old and had to undergo surgery to remove the defective lens from his eye. We have spent the last three years under the care of his opthomologist treating his subsequent strabismus. He wears a contact in his eye full time and also has to patch the other eye daily to help strengthen the eye. He is scheduled to undergo a second surgery within the year to replace the lens and operate on the muscles.
It is very stressful to have to watch your baby go through something like this, but my best advice is to become as informed as you can. Take him to more than one doctor for an opinion (you might want to ask your pediatrician for a referral), read all that you can, and ask questions until you are satisfied and comfortable with the treatment. Surgery can be scary, but in the long run if that is the best treatment, just make sure that you have done your research and you choose a doctor in whom you are confident.
I am facing the same fears of my son be teased or having lingering issues post surgery when he starts school. I know we all want to protect them. I think the best thing I can do for him is to get him the best care I can right now and face any remaining issues as needed.
Meanwhile, it sounds like your son is a great kid and is doing well, which is a good thing to focus on. Stay positive and know that there are great doctors out there that can help, you just need to put in the time to become informed and find the right doctor for your family.
Hang in there!!

1 mom found this helpful
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J.R.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I would definitely take him for 2nd and even 3rd opinions. Even if I had to pay the Dr myself, because this is a HUGE decision and there may be other ways to treat it. Just because your Dr may do it this way and isn't open to other options, doesn't mean you have to be. Good Luck!

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C.Y.

answers from Salt Lake City on

My daughter has exotropia (wandering out) since she was a few months old. At six months we started to do the patching and then later progressed to glasses. She did great with the glasses in the last few years. She is now 4 1/2.

After much deliberation, we have decided to opt for the surgery after going to 3 different specialist including Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City and Oregon Health & Science University which are both excellent facilities. A huge part of our decision was based on the fact that she has started to bury her glasses in the sandbox and frequently will not wear them at all. Come to find out that the glasses are actually hurting her by making her strain too much.

We have the surgery scheduled for January 6th. My husband, who is a nurse is still worried about the anesthesia but like one other person said we just need to speak with them before the procedure and that will help us. The surgery is an outpatient 1 hour surgery with an hour or two in the recovery room. The doctor told us that the total recovery time is just a few weeks with a 4 year old. They seem to heal much quicker than an adult.

Hope some of this information helps and to let you know you are not alone in your fears. I'm right there with you, but I have to do what is best for my little girl!!

CindyLou

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S.P.

answers from Great Falls on

I had the same surgery when I was a child and it went fine. The sleep meds won't hurt him that bad. It's better that he has it done now because his depth perception is going to be off all his life if you don't. Good luck!!!

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M.S.

answers from Denver on

My daughter has intermittent exotropia (out, but only occasionally). We've found that pthamologists and optometrists tend to have very different opinions about the effectiveness of surgery vs therapy (exercises or patches) for strobismus. although we've seen two docs at Children's Eye Physiscians, my personal opinion is that they really push surgery over other options. I believe this is becuse they are trained as surgeons - so that is the solution they "see" - pun intended!. :) So long as your son has good vision in both eyes AND is developing binocular vision, I'd talk to your optometrist about a good vision therapist. If he's not developing binocular vision properly, I'd probably go w/the surgery. Ask tons of questions - what is the percentage of success, what are the risks to the eye, what are the risks of anesthesia, what happens if surgery doesn't work, etc. Unlike another response, we've had almost no issues w/patching. we only have to do 2 hours per day, we found fun and colorful eye patches that she loves, and its no big deal. So, we're putting off surgery for now because the patches are allowing her to control the wandering. Good luck.

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S.M.

answers from Fort Collins on

I SRONGLY suggest that you get a second opinion! always always get a second opinion when it is reguard to surgery (that is my opinion!)
Also I would like to suggest that you look into a eye dr that does vision therapy. Dr. Amy Able in Ft. Collins is Fantastic! and that may be enough to reduce (or eliminate) the need for surgery. She was fantastic for my brothers (no lazy eye just couldn't make their eyes work together) and my sister (lazy eye)
I under stand your fear and I wish you the best if you want anymore information on vision therapy PLEASE e-mail me and I'd be glad to chat (i'll e-mail you my phone number if that would be easier too.) Best of luck
S.
[email protected]____.com

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D.G.

answers from Colorado Springs on

my daughter got glasses when she was four months old because she hadmuscle problems (lazy eye) in both eyes. she's now just over two and the glasses had helped, but not enough. her eyes are always straight with the glasses on, but as soon as she takes them off, within 15 minutes the weakest eye is drifting again. her last doctor wanted to keep the glasses on another year, but frankly the glasses have done all they can do and we are now considering the surgery to fix the eye completely. her doctors have told us that it is a very simple procedure and has very few risks or side effects. if your doctor wants to do the surgery then most likely that is what needs to be done. glasses and [atching can only do so much, and most of the time surgery is the last option doctors go to. i have known several people who've had the surgery done and it worked great and they didn't think it was scary or traumatic at all. if you're still nervous, talk to your doctor more, ask if you can come and observe the procdure being done before your son has his done, or have him give you a step by step run down of what will happen. i'm sure things will work out great. good luck.

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M.H.

answers from Boise on

My son is 2 years old and is scheduled for eye surgery this month. He has hyperopia which is alternating crossing. They are going to move the membrane in the inner side of his eyes. I have confidence that my doctor knows what she is doing. My husband's sister had it and they waited until she was 10 to have the surgery, her vision is horrible now. The doctor told me the sooner they do the surgery the better. I don't know where you live, but Dr. Lee is known as the best eye doctor in the state of Idaho.

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S.B.

answers from Denver on

My daughter started with the eye patch for exotropia (eye floating outward) at age 3 3/4. At age 8 we finally gave up and she had the surgery - it was easy, she healed well and no more wandering eye or double vision! Eye patches can be effective, but are hard on the child (she wore it 4 to 8 hours a day for 4 years). We should have done the surgery years sooner.

I would certainly get a second opinion and use a doctor who has lots of experience doing the procedure. My daughter's opthomalogist also did the surgery - Dr. Diane DiSantis of Children's Eye Physician's in Littleton. I couldn't recommend her more highly.

In terms of surgery experience, my four yr old son had surgery for an undescended testicle under general anesthesia and he also had an easy experience. I stayed with him until the last moment, he had his favorite toy with him, and we had talked many times about what would happen and how I would be waiting for him. When he woke up in recovery he was restless and wanted to go home immediately, and it helped that we had talked about having to stay there until the dr said we could leave.

take care, S.

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A.T.

answers from Denver on

My daughter has the same problem. We noticed it when she was about 3 years old. Her pediatrician referred us to a specialist/children's optomologist. She has been wearing prescription glasses now for almost a year and her eye & vision has improved well. She has to wear the glasses all the time, but the doctor recommended taking this action before talking about surgery and we are happy that we did. Since we caught the problem early, if we are lucky the glasses will correct the crossing of the eye and her vision within a few years. Even now, when she removes her glasses for naps or bedtime, we can see the improvement as her eye does not cross like it used to. Perhaps you should discuss the possibility of using glasses with your doctor or get a 2nd opinion from another doctor before considering surgery. Good luck!

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K.D.

answers from Denver on

We also go to Children's Eye Physicians. They are great! Go get a second opinion. When we were there, everyone was very comfortable with even a little two year old. They would be able to explain why or why not your kids are candidates for treatments other than surgery. GL! I know it must be tough.

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D.K.

answers from Denver on

Both of my kids have had to have "surgery" my daughter had her tonsils and adnoids removed, my son had adnoids removed and ear tubes put in. They were 2 1/2 at the time.
Is is a very scary thing to go through, as a parent you are a wreck! I can say to make sure there is no allergic reaction in your family to anesthesia. That was my biggest worry.

However, does it have to be done, in my case yes, it was best for them. I trusted the Dr and it all came out okay. It is a scary process though. You are right to be worried, but have to think about what is best for him. I wouldn't worry about the teasing as much as how his vision will be impacted if you do not do this. It could cause issues with his learning down the road? DO as much research and empower yourself with knowledge and don't allow the major mommy fears to seep in just yet until you have talked to others, researched the procedure and all of that. http://strabismus.com/

My brother who is now 48, has the same affliction. For a long time he wore an eye patch to try and do the strengthing process. Back in the day they did surgery on him at your son's age. Those were the days too technology wasn't all that hip and there were a lot more concerns. It helped so he didn't have the crosseyed look and pulled them apart but he does still have a little lazy eye. He will be in glasses forever too. Never did he have issues growing up with the teasing other then he has no perifreal (spelling?) vision so playing sports was very tough. He was determined and wanted to be on a police force, did that, passed his vision tests with them and achieved his dreams.

Today's technology allows so much more to be done. Doing surgery while he is young is actually better then later. Their bodies heal a lot faster. It is never easy to make a big choice for our kids, but take into account what his life will be without it, if now is better then later, do you trust the Dr, have you done your homework. Nothing is without risks, but you as a parent just need to weigh them out. Good luck, God Bless and you will be in our prayers.

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K.B.

answers from Colorado Springs on

You can always get a second opinion. A lot of times when the eye turns out glasses do not help much. Vision therapy is something you could look into. But surgery is best sooner than later. Kids are amazing at adapting and bouncing back. If you do the surgery now it's likely that he won't remember it later in life at all. If you have any questions let me know. I'm an optometrist in colorado springs.

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S.M.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Hi Missus,
My friends daughter had the same thing, they had the surgery and then for about a year after their daughter had to wear an eye patch for several hours a day over the good eye to make the weaker eye strengthen its muscles. She didn't have a problem with kids teasing her about the eye patch, they thought it was cool. Don't be afraid to look up information on the web. The more educated you are the better questions you ask your doctor to make sure you are doing the best for your child. I understand the worry about anathesia, my son had surgery when he was 2, I wasn't worried about the surgery just the anathesia, every thing was fine, talk to the anathesioligist before the day of surgery, it helps ease your worries.
Good luck, research and ask questions,
SarahMM

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K.P.

answers from Denver on

I have no personal experience with this, but I do remember a few years back my daughter had a little boy in her dance class with a lazy eye. He would come to class with a patch over his good eye. His parents said it was to help build the muscles in his bad eye. I don't know if this is an option but I thought I would throw it out there. Plus your son might have some fun with it because he could be your little pirate. Anything is worth a try especially since this is not evassive. GOOD LUCK!

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C.Y.

answers from Salt Lake City on

My daughter doesn't have that problem however she had to have a brain tumor removed June of 07, she was 4. Any kind of surgery is scary. I would research what is and diffrent types of ways to fix it. In the end as a mom you will know what is best.

Remember to be brave little ones get strenght from us. And have someone there with while he is in. My daughter was under for six hours. Having family there to support was wonderful, and leave your other child with someone so you can concentrate on the one having surgery.

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C.L.

answers from Colorado Springs on

ok, so as far as the lazy eye...i have the same problem. i had surgery on my eyes before i was a year old. my left eye is still kinda lazy, but as your son, if i concentrate and focus on something close, it is ok. i also know the pains of putting your child under a bunch of meds and such is scary...my daughter has had two surgeries before she was 2 yrs old... it was very scary and i was worried the entire time. me personally, i would do the surgery. i know whats its like to be teased about things in school, and i would want to do anything possible to spare my child of that. also, when he gets older, its harder to correct, and it is basically cosmetic at that point...which is what i was told at my last eye appt. good luck to you and my prayers are with you.

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K.K.

answers from Denver on

I guess I keep my daughter in business writing to the military wives I see on Mamasource. She works at Military One Source. This is her e-mail address and she said to write to her if you want. I will also include her cell phone number. Although, this is not why I thought of her, my grandson had the same surgery or close to it at the same age. I felt she would have had many of the same feelings as she is someone who has lived through it. So, give her a call Angie @ ###-###-#### [email protected]____.com

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