Strabismus is a condition where one eye is turned in a different direction than the eye that is used for seeing. This divergence can be towards the centre and is then called esotropia (from the Greek ese, meaning inward). When the eye turn out it is known as exotropia (from the Greek exo meaning outward). The divergence can be only slight and almost imperceptible to very severe where the pupil is almost hidden in the corner of the eye. The divergence can also by up and is then called hyperphoria (from the Greek hyper meaning above), or it can be down and is then referred to as hypophoria (from the Greek hypo meaning down). Strabismus is usually present at a very early age but can also develop in adults.
Because of the divergent eye stressful double vision is experienced and the brain switches of the image from one eye creating ambliopia. This is one reason why strabismus and ambliopia are associated.
Strabismus occurs because one or several of the eye muscles are held too tight. For example in esotropia, which account for almost 50%, the inner recti muscle is too tense causing the eye to be turned too far inward.
There is also a type of strabismus known as heterophoria which is a deviation that is held in check by normal convergence. Almost everyone has some degree of this, and it is considered to be normal.
The cause of strabismus is not known at the present time. The usual approach is to first treat ambliopia if it is present. Strabismus itself may be treated by inserting prisms in order to correct for the divergence. However there is a limit to how much divergence that can be treated (up to 5 D prism diopters) before the glasses become too heavy. Fresnel lenses are sometimes used since they are lighter and can be constructed to correct higher degree of divergence.
Surgery is another option that is often recommended by ophthalmologists since it corrects the eye position so the cosmetic appearance is improved. However the vision is not always improved with surgically shortening or repositioning the eye muscle. In any case surgery should only be contemplated after all other options have been exhausted.
Ophthalmologist William H. Bates, M.D. (1920) concluded that strabismus was caused, not by the strength of the muscles but by strain, and in that respect was no different than near-sight, far-sight and astigmatism. They are all functional problems that will respond to Vision Training.
Strabismus is usually something that afflicts children. However, it is not uncommon in adults as well. In many cases the individual has been to see a lot of doctors and clinics. Often the traditional treatment procedures lead nowhere and only builds more frustration for all concerned.
‘Mom, do I look more handsome with or without glasses?’ My son Dominic, 8, asked. ‘You looked handsome with glasses but you look so smart without them,’ I said. Dominic started to miss his pair of glasses soon after he got rid of them, as people used to say he looked good wearing glasses.
He was born far-sighted, so the ophthalmologists said, and was diagnosed to have 700+ far sight. He began to wear glasses at the age of two.
Magically, after joining the magic-eyes workshop (over the Lunar New Year Holidays) conducted by Leo, he got rid of his far sight. He got rid of his glasses right away, in three days.
On the first day of the workshop, Dominic learned to do the string and knots exercises. Leo stressed that he must do this repeatedly and intensively on the second day if we were to see any quick results. How intensive? 50 times a day, which means you must do it every 15 minutes. Dominic almost hit the target. He was kind of successful as he did 48 times. It paid. He was rid of the far-sight problem almost at once. He told me he saw things very clearly without glasses. We made it, except one thing: his two eyes were not coordinating very well. His right eye’s vision was better than the left so the left eyeball would turn in at times. This worried me as the workshop was over and I felt a little bit helpless.
I managed to speak to Leo over the phone the next day and he asked me to keep practicing the string and knots as well as the eye chart with Dominic until the eyeball would not turn in. Dominic and I were doing the exercises as a team so both of us needed to work hard. But, Dominic had to go back to school after the holidays, so we just forgot about the exercises for the moment as advised by Leo (‘Give him a break’, he said, ‘do it only at weekends’). We spent the following weekend to practice the string and knots and eye chart. This time, we did about 20 times (I just wanted to make him feel relaxed so I did not push him real hard). Also, I remembered what Leo said: we, the parents, must give the kids lots of praises in doing the exercises. I did. By the end of the day, I almost noticed the change. His left eyeball did not turn in that often. We did the exercises again over the next weekend and I could see that the problem was getting better and better.
After about two weeks, life returned to normal. No more string, knots and eye chart as Dominic’s left eyeball did not turn in at all! It works. The string and knots exercises are very, very useful. It helps the two eyes to coordinate such that you learn to use both eyes to locate the target (the knots). When you use both eyes to see, the eyeball will not turn in any more.
I ask Dominic to do the eye chart once in a while (every two months) just to check his eyesight. He has now achieved the 20/20 (100%) vision. We are working towards 16/20 (120%).
It sounds magical, but it is not. We, Dominic and I, have put in much effort in it. You and your kid must work together, and be a good team. But first and foremost, you must have faith in it before magic can turn into reality!
(By Teresa Ho,
21 May 2007)
Comments by Leo Angart
Dominic was working very hard and as a result he also achieved his outcome quickly. Apart from being far sighted, Dominic alsol had Strabismus, where one of his eyes turned in towards the nose.
Until very resently doctors believd that high degree of far sight, hyperopia, was a contributing factor to the development fo Strabismus. Recently it has become clear that there is no relationship between hyperopia and strabismus.
Dominic was probably perscribed the strong plus lenses because of that belief. Just wearing glasses do not do anything for the Strabismus. Glasses are passive and corrective only. What Dominic and his mom did with the string with knots on was to be active about training his eye coordination and develop the appropriate automatic sub-conscious refleces that produce normal eyesight.
Further more recent studies show that if you put plus lenses on young children you essetially doom them to be far sighted for life. Fortunately, Dominic still had enough focusing power to overcome the damage the longe wear of plus lenses had caused. His mom was quite schocked when she realized that he could see clearly less than a meter out. Confuingly they had to do the near sighted exercise to repair the damge.
Dominic is a wonderful example of what active Vision training can do. He now has Magic eyes.
"My son has been using Leo’s exercises for the past couple of years and has, by doing so, gone from a point where we were practically accused of child abuse by his school nurse for ignoring his deteriorating eyesight and not getting him glasses, to the point now where he is learning to drive glasses free, which thoroughly vindicates our belief in Leo’s methods.
This is powerful stuff which should be taught in schools – rather than carting kids off to the opticians to condemn them to a life behind glasses. I urge everyone who wants to solve their eyesight problems to try Leo’s methods. Attending his workshop is by far the best way of doing this but, If this isn’t possible, Leo has written 3 books covering his methods"
7月14日第一次到工作坊時，子敬有 300 度的近視，眼睛疲勞沒有神采，我們用 Leo 教授的繩索練習法和會聚力練習法回家積極練習，到7月15日的傍晚，子敬的近視已經降到 100 度以下了！簡直不可思議！7月16日第二次到工作坊時，看著 Leo 用視力表來訓練餘下的 100 度近視和用那有趣的小丑圖來治療省光，我已經由當初的半信半疑變到信心滿滿加上感激不已！
"My daughter Rebecca was diagnosed with strabismus, astigmatism, and long-sightedness at the age of 18 months. She was wearing glasses all day, every day from the age of 21 months. We had many stressful years of patching, drops, and exhaustingly long visits to the opthamologist, only to have her scripts get stronger over time. Rebecca could not be without her glasses, and as soon as she took them off, her left eye would turn harshly in.
As she grew older, Rebecca began to become more and more self conscious and felt that she stood out because of her glasses. She is passionate about her dancing, and has been performing since the age of 3. However, at the time of each concert she would express concern that she was the only one wearing glasses, and that you could not see her beautiful make-up properly! Yet she could not take them off as her eye would very clearly turn.
We discussed her concerns often, and she even tried contact lenses at the age of 8, however she resigned herself to the fact that she would always have her glasses. Her optometrist kept her hopes up by explaining that there was much research being done, and that operations were always improving. Her father and I were not comfortable with the thought of her eyes being operated on, and we explained that when she was older, the decision would be hers to make.
One night Rebecca saw an ad for a current affairs show which was airing a segment about getting rid of your glasses. She excitedly told me about it, and we made a point of watching it. Following the show, I made contact and booked Rebecca in for a children's workshop with Leo.
After many months of eager anticipation, Rebecca and I attended Leo's Magic Eyes workshop. Leo was able to quickly assess which exercises would be most important for each child in attendance, and we set to work!
The results of these simple exercises were almost immediate. Rebecca was so keen she was trying them in the car on the way home! After only the first session, for the first time in over seven years, Rebecca could take her glasses off and her eye would not turn!
This was a very emotional time for all of us, and we cannot thank Leo enough for his help. We have now been working on the exercises for a few weeks, and not only is Rebecca's turn rarely evident, her near points and far points have improved for each eye, and she has gone from wearing +4.5 lenses to +3 lenses. We still have a ways to go, but we are very determined!
Leo's knowledge is invaluable, and we only wish we had come across the techniques years ago. Our great dream for others is that Leo's strategies become the first point of call for children experiencing difficulties with their eyes.
All we can say is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
P.S. - Rebecca is keenly passing on information about the next workshops to others with glasses, even her teacher at school!