Rory Flanagan probably doesn’t remember much about her strabismus surgery when she was just 18 months old, but her mom sure does. In the midst of feeling anxious about the big day, her mom remembers the calm, caring environment they found at the Akron Children’s Outpatient Surgery Center and the expert care Rory received, and still relies on, from her vision team.
“We put our trust in Dr. Hertle during those early days and we continue to trust his opinion and recommendations as she grows,” said Amanda Flanagan, Rory’s mom. “It’s been 4 years since her surgery and Rory still looks forward to going to her vision appointments and loves seeing Dr. Hertle. I think that says a lot about how the whole team makes her feel when she’s there.”
Strabismus, a common disorder in which the eyes don’t line up, affects between 2 and 4 percent of children in the U.S. When eyes don’t line up together, the straight eye becomes dominant and develops eye control. In the misaligned or weaker eye, the connection to the brain doesn’t form correctly so focus and eye control are underdeveloped, causing the eye to lag behind.
Generally, the sooner the condition is diagnosed, the more effective the treatment will be.
Thankfully for Rory, her mom, who’s also a photographer, noticed that one of Rory’s eyes was never quite looking at the camera. After an evaluation and diagnosis at the Vision Center, Richard Hertle, MD, FAAO, FAC, FAAP, director of ophthalmology at Akron Children’s Hospital, recommended Rory’s treatment plan include corrective surgery and glasses.
“Rory handled surgery well and took to wearing glasses at an early age to help with her weak eye so her vision is in a good place today,” said Amanda. “She’s happy, active and doing great in school. She is writing letters and loves playing with her big brother, Emmett, and participating in T-ball and gymnastics.”
Rory continues to wear glasses for her weak eye and comes in for check-ups with Dr. Hertle twice a year. Rory will start kindergarten this fall at North Nim Elementary where she’s looking forward to making new friends and learning new things with bright-eyed optimism.
As with Rory, early intervention can help fix strabismus so talk to a provider if your child is displaying signs such as:
- One or both eyes that wander in, out, up or down
- Double vision (seeing two objects when only one is in view)
- Difficulty seeing things in general
- Squints a lot and turns/tilts head in an attempt to see more clearly
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with the Akron Children’s Vision Center, call 330-543-5290.