They Don't Call Me "Cross-Eyed"
the age of 4, Justin had surgery on his left eye to correct a
pronounced eye turn. The surgery did not work. Four years later,
another surgeon said he could not operate again on the left eye,
but he wanted to operate on the right. He said the operation would
misalign that eye, and as it worked to straighten itself out,
it would bring the left eye into alignment. That recommendation
was frightening to us.
At age nine, vision therapy was recommended after testing had
found Justin to be writing at age level five. His writing was
essentially illegible, and as he progressed in school it was becoming
an issue for his grades.
Given the test results – and knowing we couldn’t
bring ourselves to authorize surgery on an eye with nothing wrong
with it—we decided to explore the possibility.
Dr. Stern explained the concept on our first visit: that Justin’s
misaligned eyes left him confused as to where he was in relationship
to his world. Her testing showed he sometimes saw double. But
it showed that mostly his brain was shutting off the misaligned
eye to blot out the confusing information. His handwriting was
simply a symptom of all this. So was his poor gross motor control.
(Justin could fall down just standing next to a counter.)
So we began a year long therapy, driving an hour weekly for the
sessions and creating a routine at home to do the exercises…..
And in the end, ….Justin is using both eyes. He still hates
to write. But his writing is 100 percent better. His eyes appear
straight—something a colleague who hasn’t see Justin
for months recently remarked upon.
During one of his first visits, Justin told Dr. Stern that the
kids called him “cross-eyed” and he hoped the therapy
could make a difference. At his last check up, he told her, “They
don’t call me cross-eyed anymore.” --
Mom of Justin (age 9)