Strabismus and Me

Warning: the above video features eye surgery. It’s not for the squeamish. Play at your own risk. I haven’t slept well since watching it.

I’m sharing because I was diagnosed with strabismus and referred to a surgeon earlier this year. I meet with my surgeon tomorrow morning for a final checkup. My surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, if all goes according to plan. I mentioned what was happening with my right eye in this post and incorrectly mentioned Esotropia.

When I was researching the condition, I discovered a whole community on Youtube. One of the most dramatic was a pre-surgery video from Michelle Fox. She talks about what it’s like to live with strabismus and when she takes off her prism glasses, her condition is pretty severe. See it at around 2:00 in this video:

Ms. Fox also has a bunch of recovery videos on her YouTube channel that show a dramatic improvement in her eye alignment.

I’m lucky that my strabismus only manifested itself fairly recently, but it’s severe enough to affect virtually every aspect of my life. Doing code work, image editing and virtually any computer work longer than 30 minutes at a time will result in eye strain and a headache. Lately, I’ve become self-conscious about it to a point of it affecting how I position myself to speak to people. Driving has become particularly difficult over the past few months. If I close my affected eye, I’m fine. If there aren’t too many cars on the road, I’m fine. But rush hour? Narrow road? Intense. I’ve tried to build an image demonstrating what it’s like and haven’t been able to get it close. My affected eye has a higher power prescription and so at a distance, objects have a slightly different magnification in each eye. What I need to do is take two photos, one representing each eye and then composite them to get a more accurate representation of what it’s like to live with strabismus.

I’m not writing this as a sympathy seeking exercise or to claim deep woe. I’m sharing with hope that I can learn from others who may have suffered from this condition and help those who haven’t had surgery or didn’t know it was an option.