These are some extracts from emails and letters that we have received. There are common recurring themes, so we hope that your questions can be answered by reading the following queries.
Q: I would like to have a consultation to see if it is possible to correct my squint. Is surgery available on the NHS?
The assessment and management of squints, including surgery for squints, is available on the NHS. There are quite a number of children’s eye doctors and adult squint specialists across the country. Soon there will be a website for the British and Irish Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Association (BIPOSA) where these specialists will be listed. In the meantime, your GP or optician should know of a local specialist. Please see our 'What do I do next?
' page for more information on this process.
Q: I had an operation for a squint as a child. My eyes seemed straight for a few years but now one eye is drifting out. As I have already had surgery, is there anything that can be done about it?
It is not uncommon for a squint that has been corrected in childhood to re-appear in adulthood. Yes, further surgery is often possible and it would be worth having an assessment by a specialist squint surgeon. Your GP or optometrist should be able to refer you to a local specialist.
Q: I had a “lazy eye” as a child and it has now come back. I would like to know who to turn to. Can you help?
“lazy eye” to most people means a squint; one eye or the other turning in or out. The best place to start is your GP or optometrist (optician). They will be able to assess the situation and refer you to the appropriate specialist.
Q: I have a “lazy eye” and was wondering about treatment, if it could be helped or cured in any way. I am 54 years old. Would that be a problem?
Age is not, it self, a restriction to correcting a squint with surgery. Most squint surgery is performed under general anaesthetic (you are put to sleep for it) which requires that your general health is reasonable.
Q: I have poor vision in my lazy eye since I was a child. The eyes seem to work together and I do not have a visible squint like most of your patients. Is it possible to make the vision better?
I am afraid the answer is probably not. If one eye is more long sighted or short sighted in childhood or there is a very small squint which is not noticeable, sometimes the brain decides to ignore that eye (see information on amblyopia
). If the vision is corrected early enough, the brain can be taught to start using the eye again (which may require patching treatment). However, this treatment needs to be done as early as possible and certainly before the age of 10. There are a very few cases reported where the vision has been improved in early teenagers but this is not common. Once you get to 10 or so, the vision is mature and there is no treatment that is likely to improve the vision.
Q: I live in Bournmouth but would be happy to come to Bury St Edmunds or Cambridge to see your team. Can my GP refer me to you?
There are a number of ways that you can come to see the team for a consultation. From April 2008, it should be possible for your GP to refer you anywhere in the country on the NHS. At present this is not possible. If you have private medical insurance, your GP can refer you to the team by writing to us (see our Contact Us
page). Your insurance should cover the consultation fee, but you must check with them first. If you have no medical insurance cover, you can pay directly. A referral from your GP or optometrist is preferred so that we have as much detail as possible about you.
Q: I was told four years ago that nothing could be done about my lazy eye and I felt like a discarded specimen. I struggle with my condition every day, is there no further help available?
It is very important that you are referred to an ophthalmologist who specialises in squints, this may not have happened with your last consultation. You are always entitled to a second opinion from a more specialised ophthalmologist anywhere in the UK. This would need a referral from your GP (see our 'What do I do next?
' page for more information.)
Q: My 10 year old daughter has just been diagnosed with a lazy eye. I have been told that it is too late for anything to be done, is this correct?
It is probably too late to improve the sight in the lazy eye, but it is usually possible to correct the cosmetic appearence of her eyes. You need to seek a second opinion. (see our 'What do I do next?
' page for more information.)
Q: I have a severe phobia of needles, is it possible to have treatment without having to see a needle?
Yes. The anaesthetic can be administered by using gas induction without you seeing or feeling a needle and all surgery is carried out while you are asleep under a General Anaesthetic.
Q: Do you accept private patients and if so, how much will it cost me?
We do operate in a private capacity. Please contact us for prices for initial consultation, orthoptic assessment and surgery under General Anaesthetic as a day case. Fees can vary from patient to patient because it depends on the surgery that needs to be carried out.