By Adrian Galbreth
For many people with the condition strabismus, life can often be challenging, as the misalignment and limited movement of one or more eyes characterised by the disease often leads to their everyday lives being affected.
In severe cases, they can also develop neck and back problems from having to turn their head to see properly and, while surgery can correct eye position, it often requires an operation on several muscles with a lengthy recovery period.
However, experts in the US believe they may have come up with a solution to the condition that can help to improve the lives of sufferers in a painless way.
The single, simplified procedure has been trialled at Children's Hospital Boston in Massachusetts and has exhibited positive results by allowing a person's eye position to be fine-tuned in the recovery room up to a week after and avoiding further operations, which have been a problem for many people who have undergone treatment for it in the past.
The study was led by Dr David Hunter, chief of ophthalmology at Children's Hospital Boston, and published in the February Archives of Ophthalmology, where experts report the effects of the procedure, known as superior rectus transposition with adjustable medial rectus recession.
It was trialled in 17 patients with complex strabismus who could not move an eye outward and compensated by tilting their head far to the side, causing problems with balance.
Dr Hunter explained how the new procedure enables outward eye movement by repositioning a muscle that normally moves the eye up.
"In transposition surgery, we take a force that's moving the eye up or down and translate some of it over to the side, by moving the muscle over. This simplified procedure for a complex and disfiguring problem is changing the lives of these children and adults," he noted.
More wide-scale trials will now be carried out to determine the effectiveness of the procedure, though the expert is confident that it can make a real change to the lives of those with strabismus.
by Adrian Galbreth