Archive for the ‘surgery’ Category

When I look back on the day strabismus surgery was recommended as the next step in our son’s treatment, my first instinct was to think of ways to protect my son. “Surgery? Isn’t there anything else we can try?”

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Considering the situation, this was an understandable reaction. And to be honest, my wife and I had different reactions and different emotions which overcame us. We actually go into detail on our differing perspectives in our book but I’ll try to stay on topic for this post…. Is Strabismus Surgery Safe?

Well, I think they practice a canned response to this anticipated question in medical school and instruct ophthalmologists to respond with “The day of the surgery, the most dangerous thing you will do is drive to the hospital.” That was the response we received to our question. Well fine, but that doesn’t do much to calm a parent going through this for the first time.

We looked at our child and he smiled at us with his beautiful cross eyed smile that we had fallen in love with since he was just a few months old. “OK” we told the doc and followed with “what are the risks and what should we expect?” Our questions were answered and others which we didn’t know we had were answered only through our actual experience.

Compared to other surgeries, strabismus surgery is actually quite simple in concept. The surgery is performed on the extraocular muscles (the muscles that surround the eye) and performed through a tiny incision on the clear membrane which covers the white part of the eye. The muscles are tightened or weakened by shortening or repositioning the muscles. Then the clear membrane is stitched up and its all done. The eye ball never leaves the socket and the incision is far enough back that you’ll never see it. The biggest risk in the actual surgery is the anesthesia and your child will be monitored throughout the surgery.

Rest is Good!

Some things to expect after strabismus surgery include possible vomiting (from the anesthesia), visible blood on the eye (and possibly tear drops of blood). The skin area surrounding the eye may also become swollen and your child may want to rub his/her eye(s). Once the anesthesia wore off, our son continued to be sleepy (and clingy) and simply wanted to be held. However in the recovery room we also saw some children that simply wanted to be left alone, so the key here is to listen to what the child wants and will make him/her most comfortable.

Once you get home and your child begins to adjust to his/her new alignment, you should be very observant and even take pictures and video. For us this was one of the most emotional times of our journey to see him learn to use his eyes together for the very first time! What an awesome experience this was for us and him. This is one reason why it is important to make the decision regarding strabismus surgery as soon as necessary in order to increase the chances of your child gaining binocular vision.

Read more about our Book by visiting ChildhoodStrabismus.com

Aligned and ready for the world!

Aligned and ready for the world!

So yes, strabismus surgery is safe, but like any other surgery involving anesthesia there are some risks. In our opinion the risks were minimal compared to the reward we saw unfold in front of us as our son learned the meaning of depth perception. As we reveal in our book, his eyes later went back to being crossed and required repeat strabismus surgery. Depending on the severity, the type of crossing and the age of your child your results will also vary but in the end just keep in mind that your child is the most precious thing in your life and you should be willing to risk in order to help him/her have a comfortable future. After our son’s 4th surgery over a year ago, his eyes now remain aligned well within range of maintaining binocular vision and he has no signs of amblyopia.

Thank you for reading. We’ll continue to post more about our story in this blog. Please also visit our site at www.ChildhoodStrabismus.com for information on our book as well as online videos and pictures of our child along his Journey with Strabismus.

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Read more about our Book by visiting ChildhoodStrabismus.com

The primary symptoms of strabismus (being cross eyed and lack of binocular vision) can be treated to a certain degree and through various ways to correct or minimize the effects of the condition. However yes, strabismus itself is permanent. Some typical and common treatments include strabismus surgery (eye muscle surgery), glasses, eye patch therapy, eye exercises, and botox.  While most parents want to try non-surgical methods first, often strabismus surgery is the only solution to correct being cross eyed and properly align the eyes. During strabismus surgery, the surgeon will operate on the muscles surrounding the eye. Often muscles are tightened or loosened by shortening or repositioning the muscles of the eye.

Of course you should explore all options available and even pursue a second opinion if another pediatric ophthalmologist is available. Additionally, it is important to know that even when strabismus surgery is recommended, glasses and/or eye patch treatment are often prescribed in order to prevent or correct amblyopia.

That’s as technical as I want to be in this post. As you know I’m not a doctor.  My experience comes directly from being a parent of a child with strabismus and minor amblyopia.

So, yes the condition itself is permanent however with the proper treatment, the obvious symptoms of strabismus (being cross eyed), can be minimized. And, if treated early enough your child can retain or gain binocular vision and enjoy life as you and I know it.

Comments? Let us know your thoughts. You can also download our book at www.ChildhoodStrabismus.com

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