Adult patients (new or established) are welcome in the practice specifically for the treatment of double vision (diplopia) and ocular misalignment (strabismus). Also welcome are adults with special needs whose unique issues may make them a better fit in the pediatric setting. Since pediatric ophthalmology is a subspecialty of ophthalmology, insurance may require referrals from your primary medical doctor or another eye care specialist in order for coverage to be in effect. Your insurance or our office staff can help make this determination.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING ADULT STRABISMUS
As a part of her fellowship, Dr. Breckenridge trained in the medical and surgical management of diplopia and strabismus in adults. Adults can benefit from some of the same treatment options that are available to children for treating strabismus. For this reason, most surgeons operating on adults with strabismus have trained in pediatric ophthalmology.
Adults may have strabismus either from a residual childhood strabismus or they may acquire strabismus in adulthood. New strabismus that develops in an adult can result from conditions such as trauma, thyroid disease, stroke or tumors. Frequently, however, there is no identifiable reason for the misalignment.
Diplopia can be a very difficult and debilitating problem interfering with some or all of the activities of daily life. Treatment options will vary depending upon the cause and duration of the diplopia. In some cases strabismus surgery will be recommended but in other cases, various types of glasses, prisms, exercises and possibly occlusion may be recommended.
Ultimately strabismus surgery is recommended to improve the patient's quality of life. Eye alignment surgery is performed in adults for several reasons. First, strabismus surgery in an adult may be done to eliminate double vision. Second, adults may benefit from improved binocular vision or depth perception. Finally, an improvement in the appearance of ocular alignment is sometimes the major impetus for considering strabismus surgery. The surgery should not be considered a "cosmetic" procedure since it is performed to "reconstruct" abnormal ocular alignment. This can lead to significant emotional, social and economic benefits.
Eyes can be straightened at any age and should be considered as a treatment alternative if it improves symptoms and enhances the quality of life.
Most individuals have significant improvement in eye alignment with one surgery (80% of strabismus surgery patients require only one such procedure in their lifetime).
Occasionally the surgery is only partially successful, or changes in ocular alignment may occur over time after initially successful surgery. Additional surgery may be indicated. Correction of double vision may be improved with the use of prism glasses.
Eye alignment surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis at Good Samaritan Hospital. Rarely there may be the need for hospitalization based upon general health issues. Following surgery most individuals return to nearly all normal activities within several hours.
Surgical cases last 1-3 hours and are performed under general anesthetic.
Every surgical procedure has some risks. For strabismus surgery, the most common risks are residual misalignment of the eyes and double vision. Most double vision that develops after strabismus surgery is temporary; however, persistent double vision is possible. Fortunately, the more serious risks of anesthetic complications, infection, bleeding, retinal detachment, and decreased vision are rare. Health risks vary with the general health of the individual.
Discomfort after eye muscle surgery is usually not severe. Headache, pulling sensation with eye movement and foreign body sensation in the eye are the most common complaints and they can last for several days. Over-the-counter pain medication often reduces the discomfort, although stronger medication is sometimes prescribed. Most patients return to full activity in several days. Residual redness may persist for some number of weeks. Drops and ointment are prescribed for several weeks. No showering is permitted for 3 days after the surgery and no swimming for 2 weeks.
Because misaligned eyes can hinder social interaction, self-confidence and employment opportunities eye muscle (strabismus) surgery is considered reconstructive (not cosmetic). You should check with your specific medical insurance carrier to determine actual coverage. The office will generally assist you in the precertification and scheduling processes.
All individuals deserve straight eyes if possible!