20 Year old wanted to join the Coast Guard but had a constant eye turn (strabismus) that prevented him from enlisting.

A 20 year old man called the office to see if we could help improve his amblyopia and strabismus. He had constant, alternating esotropia with right eye fixation preference. He had high plus prescription in his glasses that made his eyes look very magnified and while his left eye turned in most often, it constantly turned in when he took off his glasses. He was hoping to improve his eye sight in the left eye, learn to control the two eyes and eliminate the eye turn because he wanted to join the military and be in the Coast Guard.

What was unique about this patient was that he came into this highly motivated and quickly learned awareness of what each eye was doing, how things felt when he looked at them a certain way and how it felt to focus and unfocus his eyes. He worked hard on all the prescribed homework and followed his program consistently. He was also paying for it by himself, that is, until his parents saw such a great improvement with his eyes that they have agreed to pay for every other week of In-Office Vision Therapy.

While the following results are not typical, they are certainly ideal! (Typically, amblyopia and strabismus can take about a year and a half to gain stereopsis/3D/depth perception).

First week of In-Office Vision Therapy: we decreased his prescription A LOT and prescribed eye movements and other VT exercises.

After week 2 of In-Office Vision Therapy, he could control his two eyes well enough that they hardly ever turned in.

After week 3 of Vision Therapy and a contact lens fit, he was starting to fuse the two images and could wear contact lenses with zero eye turn.

At week 6, this is the email we received from him:

Good morning Dr. Sanders!

Yesterday for the first time, I was able to use a pair of binoculars properly! Thanks to your work!

For my whole life, when I’d look through a set of binoculars I’d always get double vision. It didn’t matter what I tried- using my glasses or my old contacts, adjust the focus of both eye pieces, adjust the eye relief – I could never get one proper image to form even when using some expensive German glass. I’d always see two separated images, and I would have to “choose” which one I wanted to look at. This was always frustrating to me since I often wanted to use binoculars for hunting, shooting, viewing wildlife, etc.

Then yesterday, I casually picked up my dad’s old set of binoculars, and realized that wow now I can actually easily fuse, see and hold one large beautiful 3D image like a normal person. Ha!

(You don’t know how much this makes me happy! I’ve always been a huge geek when it comes to optics. monoculars, rifle scopes, Binoculars, lazar range finders, theodolites, telescopes. I have a soft spot for all that stuff. And now I can actually use the binoculars I wanted to buy next week.)

At week 12 he finally saw in 3D (without binoculars) for the first time in his life! And his personal journey through Vision Therapy has made him consider pursuing a career as a Behavioral Optometrist so he can help others like himself.

Nothing worth having comes easy!

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