Why It’s Important To Treat Strabismus In Childhood

When your child has a medical problem, you want to treat it as soon as possible. The problem is that some parents don't understand the importance of addressing vision issues in such a timely manner. The irony is that while some issues can be delayed and treated more effectively once the child ages, vision isn't one of them.

Here, you can learn why it's so important to make vision issues like strabismus a priority and seek treatment as early as possible:

What is Strabismus?

When you look at something, your brain tells your eyes to both focus on the same thing, and the muscles respond accordingly. However, in the case of strabismus, both eyes don't always look at the same thing. The muscles simply don't respond the way they are supposed to.

One eye may "drift" while the other focuses, and it isn't always the same eye that does the drifting. Left unattended, this can lead to permanent vision impairment and even complete loss of vision in one eye.

How Does the Brain Respond?

To understand how this impacts vision, you have to understand how the brain and the eyes work together. The eyes are simply the tools that the brain uses to transfer images from the outside world to be interpreted. When the brain gets two different images from the eyes, it will either combine them or ignore one of them.

When this is done on a regular basis, the brain develops a habit of doing this. This means that after a certain point, even if the eyes were corrected, the brain may still ignore one of them.

What Does Childhood Have to Do with It?

As your child's brain develops, it develops patterns and routines such as the ones mentioned above. Between the ages of seven and eight, these vision patterns between the brain and eyes are established. That means even if the child has laser surgery after that age, the brain may not change the developed patterns.

Some surgeries, like pins put in bones, may have to be repeated as the child grows because the bone continues to grow. However, the eyes are just the opposite, which is why laser surgery is best done before the child is grown.

The younger the individual is when the surgery is done, the greater the chance that the brain and eyes can establish a connection that leads to corrected vision.

The idea of a child going into surgery is always a scary one for parents, but this type of surgery is an outpatient process that can allow your child to have the kind of vision you want them to. Of course there are exercises and treatments like eye patches that may work too, but these can sometimes be difficult to enforce with young children.

Laser surgery is a fast and effective approach that can take the burden off of your child and yourself. Consult your vision professional today to learn about the options available for your child. To learn more, contact a company like Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head with any questions you have.