Strabismus is commonly known as cross-eyed or wall-eyed and is a vision complication that results in an individual being unable to align both eyes. Roughly 5% of children suffer from some type of strabismus, but thankfully many types of strabismus can be corrected. If your child has strabismus, you may be confused as to whether to choose a surgical correction or vision therapy to help them regain binocular vision. The following information will help you make a decision between your two options.
Get Opinions from Both Optometrists and Ophthalmologists
Vision therapy is hotly debated between many optometrists and ophthalmologists. Most vision therapists are optometrists, while eye surgeons are ophthalmologists. Because of the differences in the professions, an optometrist will often suggest vision therapy while an ophthalmologist may insist that your child needs surgery. Before deciding between the two, it is helpful to speak with both types of professionals. When deciding on an ophthalmologist, you should make sure to select one who is not openly against vision therapy. Similarly, choose an optometrist who is not against surgical intervention. This way you will get medical opinions that are more neutral.
Know How Your Child's Age Can Affect Your Options
Surgery to correct strabismus can be performed at any time during a person's life. However, it has the highest chance for long-term success when performed on a young child. Also, when strabismus surgery is performed on an infant, the child is more likely to develop healthy binocular vision as they age, whereas older children will likely need vision therapy even after surgery to develop healthy vision. If your child is very young and you are considering surgery to correct their strabismus, you may want to proceed before their chances of functional success are reduced.
Also, while vision therapy can be started with toddlers or infants, it is most effective with an active participant. This means that vision therapy may not be as effective for your infant as it would be for an older child. If the cost of the therapy concerns you, you may want to wait until your child can actively participate in sessions before beginning vision therapy to get the most out of your money.
Decide Between Cosmetic and Functional Success
When deciding between surgery and vision therapy, it is important to define what kind of result you would like for your child. Most surgery is completed with the goal of obtaining cosmetic success. This means that your child's eyes will appear to function normally, but they may still have vision problems such as blurriness or double vision. If functional success is your main goal, then you may need to combine very accurate corrective surgery with post-surgery vision therapy.
Alternatively, you may be able to achieve functional success with just vision therapy, but it will likely take longer than surgery combined with vision therapy.
Know What Your Insurance Will Cover
It can sometimes be difficult to get your insurance to cover vision therapy, as it is often considered an elective therapy by many insurance companies. However, surgical procedures for strabismus are often covered through most people's health insurance. If you want vision therapy without surgery, you may have a better chance of getting it covered if you can show that you have tried alternative treatment options, such as glasses, and if you can get a recommendation from an ophthalmologist for vision therapy as the best treatment for your child.
Deciding between surgical intervention and vision therapy can be a difficult choice for any parent. It is important that you have an impartial medical opinion and complete thorough research on the benefits and drawbacks of each option before making your decision. So talk with a professional or visit websites like http://www.absolutevisioncare.com for more information and options.