Ophthalmologists are surgeons who specialize in diseases of the eye. These people are called “eye doctors.”
Optometrists perform no surgery and there are many different kinds, ranging from the kind that work at Lens Crafters & do the free eye exam, to the kind that help people with strabismus to see better, known as developmental optometrists (aka behavioral optometrists.) These people are called “eye doctors.”
Confusing. (And then there are opticians, the people at the glasses store who help you put your eye doctor’s prescription into glasses frames, and are trusted with the task of making sure the frames fit and sit properly on the head so the prescription lenses can do their job.)
Because ophthalmologists operate to cure patients, and have been taught that strabismus is a eye muscle problem, they treat strabismus by operating on the eye, cutting certain muscles to shorten them and other tailor’s tricks. Good cosmetic results can happen when the surgeon has a sophisticated understanding of how much to snip, tighten, and re-arrange. I have “straight eyes” for this reason. I do not have fixed vision, however…a person with crossed eyes/strabismus cannot see in 3D, and neither can I with my straight-looking strabismic eyes.
With grateful thanks to Sue Barry, PhD’s book Fixing My Gaze, I learned about developmental optometrists. These are eye doctors who study strabismus as an vision problem that can be fixed, by fixing the problem. The main problem with strabismus is: the eyes are not working together. Developmental optometrists help their patients learn how to use both eyes together, which results in binocular vision, good peripheral vision, and being able to see in 3D like typical people’s typical vision. No eye muscle cutting involved!
Heaps of time, concentration, dedication, and money are involved, however. Vision therapy is a weekly commitment, and it will probably take about a year for me to achieve my goals. Finances can affect people’s access to vision therapy, because insurance covers eye operations for strabismus, but not for many forms of vision therapy.