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Straight talk to fix a misaligned eye

Updated: November 27, 2012 11:50AM



Q. I am tired of being embarrassed about my one eye that’s misaligned. I’m 28, just moved to a new city for a new job, and I know it doesn’t make a great first impression. Sometimes people assume I’m stupid, and trying to meet women is really frustrating and uncomfortable. What can I do?

A. Strabismus (that’s the medical term for eyes that don’t align properly) happens when eye muscles don’t work together, because of faulty development of the nerve pathway from one eye to the brain. When the condition is treated early in life, chances are good that therapy will do the trick and surgery may not be necessary.

However, when left untreated, therapy alone might not work. Plus, you also may have to deal with lazy eye, or amblyopia. That happens when the affected eye’s visual messages stop being fully processed by your brain. This can narrow your field of vision, affect depth perception, trigger double vision or even shut off sight altogether.

Fortunately, there’s now a surgery using adjustable sutures that allows the surgeon to tune the sinews of your eye muscles. Also, injections of botulinum toxin (Botox) can temporarily relax strong eye muscles, making the weak muscles work harder.

These techniques, coupled with an eye patch, glasses and drops, may mean that pretty soon you’ll feel a lot more confident on the job and in your social life.

Q. I take vitamins (a multi), plus herbal supplements and minerals to help my mood (St. John’s wort), ease joint pain (glucosamine and chondroitin) and stay healthy (flaxseed for omega-3s). But now my doc has prescribed a statin and a baby aspirin every day, and wants to know what else I’m taking to see if there might be interactions. Why would these supplements suddenly be a problem?

A. Your doc wants to know because it’s easy to take too much of or the wrong form of a supplement and get risky interactions. For example, glucosamine and chondroitin can affect clotting and may make the effect of aspirin more pronounced. But our usual aspirin recommendation — two babies with a half a glass of water before and after — doesn’t seem to be a problem; talk with your doc. Vitamin E (probably in your multi) and flaxseed oil (and some other omega-3s) plus aspirin also could deliver too much anti-clotting power. But if you’re getting just 100 percent of the daily recommended dose of vitamin E and not more, we haven’t seen a problem. We advocate DHA omega-3 from algal oil, which doesn’t seem to have any anti-clotting side effects.

Now, when it comes to herbs, the list of potential interactions with medications is huge. If you have heart, gastro, nerve, liver or kidney problems, get a second opinion.

King Features Syndicate



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