Friday, April 16, 2010

Final Exam with Eye Surgeon

Yesterday I went to see Dr. Campolattaro, the surgeon who did eye surgery for my Strabismus four months ago. He said that it would take about 3 months for the eyes to 'set' and the muscles to fully heal, so here I was four months post op ready to hear how he thought my eyes had healed.

I was excited to see him, he is a wonderful surgeon and one of the nicest people I have ever met. I think my eyes look great, but I do see that one crosses in occasionally. He thought they looked great and after fully examining me, said that I have something called "Age Related Crossing," which he said meant that because my reading and close up vision is is not that strong due to age, my eyes are crossing in when I look at things within about 2 feet of my face. The moment I look at something out of this 2-3 foot space, my eyes straighten out. He said that he could do another surgery, but I would run the risk of going wall - eyed, even if he could do the surgery. He wasn't sure that I would have any decent muscles to work with given my three previous childhood surgeries, the first two for horizontal correction.

During the exam, Dr. C asked me to put on my reading glasses and sat about 2 feet in front of me. He told me that as soon as I had my reading glasses on, my eyes straightened out perfectly in that 2 foot zone. I actually noticed this too when I was home in my obsessive cataloguing of post - op photos taken on my Mac. Whenever I was wearing my glasses in the photos my eyes looked perfect.

Dr. C suggested that when I have business meetings, or out to dinner where someone is going to be sitting that distance, to wear a 1.25 pair of eye glasses and it would keep them aligned. The final takeaway from our appointment was that it was more surgeries, he said he didn't want to risk anything and that they really looked great.

I did bring up Vision Therapy and Dr. C's said not to pursue it, as it would not help my crossing. We all know there is a divide between Optometry and Ophthalmology, which is unfortunate. It would be so great if the two camps could work together in the way say a Physical Therapist works to build or rehab before of after any other kind of surgery, but for now this doesn't seem to be happening. I don't want to sit here and lament on this, but just to tell my story and hope anyone with vision issues will explore all options.

PS: Walking Chester today, we walked home over a steep hill. I stopped and turned to look back down the ridge. It was breathtaking-all the layers of space going down the side of the hill made me happy to be alive. Seeing distance still fills me with joy!


  1. Heather, Thank you for this post. I go for my 6 mo. check up next Wed. with my eye Dr. So it was interesting to hear what you said. I'm anxious about my apt. even though I know I am so happy with my last surgery officially my 4th. Unofficially my 5th surgery. I'm having a little trouble with people who I love around me not understanding what a change it is to have your vision changed. I feel sort of like an odd ball for all the mixed feelings. So it was nice to read this today. Thanks. I wish you the best. And yes, It is just amazing to take in some sites isn't it? I went to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D. That was AMAZING too. Try it it's so much fun!

  2. Hi Heather,

    Thank you as well for your post. After speaking to Surgeons & Vision Therapists and exhausting the subject on behalf of my daughter with them. I ALWAYS, find your posts are reassuring, more clear and accurate then her Doctors.. :) I'm thinking you should go into the field and start your own Optometry and Ophthalmology therapy post surgery clinic.. we would be there with bells on :)
    Anyways, all fun aside, thank you for your updates.

  3. Hi Christine,
    Thank you so much for your post. It really means a lot to me that my posts are helpful and your note was so thoughtful and nice. Please stay in touch and let me know how your daughter is doing.

  4. Hi Heather,

    Stumbled across your blog today...good stuff. My wife is a developmental OD and I'm our practice coordinator. We own a VT only practice in TN. So frustrating to hear your MD telling you not to bother with VT. I hear this all the time too from our patients who have consulted with an MD. But I just remind myself that they are trained surgeons who live in the world of surgery. If it can't be fixed with a scalpel, it can't be fixed. They spend their days cutting eye muscles, not considering the fact that the eyes only do what the brain tells them to do! A turned eye isn't turning because the eye decided to turn. A turned eye is turning because the brain is telling it to turn. So how does cutting an eye muscle cause the brain to stop turning the eye? It doesn't. The eye will eventually turn again, possibly the same direction, possibly a different direction. And if surgery does cause an eye to somewhat straighten, the two eyes will never team because the brain has still never been trained to use both eyes as a team (without VT). The bottom line is that MDs are trained surgeons and are extremely valuable when surgery is truly needed. But they have no training in vision development, only eye structure. So when an MD starts telling you what VT won't accomplish, you can bet that he's not educated on the subject. One thing is for certain, as an OD, my wife would never tell a patient that surgery with an MD won't help an eye disease that truly needs operation. She's knows that topic is outside of her practice and not respectful to the patient's needs. If only MDs had the same amount of respect for their patients.

  5. I'm in my late 40s and have had strabismus since infancy -- 4 surgeries until age 10. Glasses really help to keep my eyes aligned--even though I needed them mainly for reading I ended up wearing them all the time otherwise my right eye would tend to drift. The last ophthalmologist I saw said that virtually every eye muscle had been adjusted in my previous surgeries, so add'l surgery wouldn't help.

    Although I knew about Sue Barry for a few years, I'm finally starting on the path to (hopefully) see in 3D; saw one Vision Therapist this week and heard about Barry's book there. I already read it and just found your blog. I'm excited about the prospect of seeing in 3D and how/if it will change things, especially since I'm an illustrator/designer.

    Anyway, I wasn't sure I was comfortable with the VT I saw this week and started calling others, coincidentally one of which you mentioned a while back, Dominick Maino -- I think he may be my guy!

    I'm interested to know if health insurance has covered your VT and if so, did you have to jump through any hoops to get it covered?

    Oh, and yes, I have LBP; not super low but I fainted once or twice as a kid.

    Congrats on your surgery, and for what it's worth, if VT is working for you as it seems to be, I'd ignore the surgeon and continue!


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