Brenden Ditton: Seeing Clearly

Seven-year-old Brenden Ditton doesn’t remember ever not wearing glasses. He was diagnosed with a condition called strabismus (crossed eyes) when he was a baby; he started wearing corrective eyeglasses when he was just 18 months old. Strabismus is a condition in which both eyes do not look at the same place at the same time.

Brenden’s eye care provider, Dr. Jason Bleazard, explained that six muscles attach to each eye to control how the eye moves. The muscles receive signals from the brain that direct their movements. Normally, the eyes work together so they both point at the same place. When problems develop with eye movement control, an eye may turn in, out, up or down.

Sometimes it is possible to correct this condition without surgery. “We tried several options with Brenden’s eyes,” Bleazard said. “We put him in glasses and also tried patching where one eye would be covered forcing the weaker muscles in the other eye to become stronger."

Bleazard said it is always prudent to try other therapies before surgical intervention. “It was only when these therapies didn’t produce the desired results that I referred Brenden to Northwest Pediatric Ophthalmology in Spokane for surgery."

The procedure to correct strabismus involves taking measurements in each eye. The muscles are then adjusted to fit correctly within those measurements. The correction in Brenden’s current eye glasses is based on those measurements.

His vision is now corrected to 20/20. “I can see a lot better,” Brenden said. “Brenden’s eyes will be carefully monitored in the future,” Bleazard said. “He will have his final surgery check-up in June of this year. We will resume caring for him at our Othello Eye Clinic after that.”

Brenden’s parents, Kim (RN at CBHA) and Shawn Ditton, describe Brenden as a very active seven-year-old who “loves everything about being outdoors.” He is a happy little boy who adores animals and anything to do with nature. He just finished the first grade and is looking forward to summer. Brenden’s parents are relieved that his vision has been corrected and he can participate in the activities he enjoys.

People often believe that a child with strabismus will outgrow the condition. But evidence doesn’t support this hope. In fact, the condition may get worse without treatment. “An optometrist should examine any child older than four months whose eyes do not appear to be straight all the time,” Bleazard concluded. “We can diagnose strabismus through a comprehensive eye exam with special emphasis on how the eyes focus and move. Family history is important as well. Brenden’s mother also had this condition as a baby, but alternative therapies didn’t work and she, too, had surgery as a small child.”

For more information about strabismus or any other eye concern, Dr. Bleazard can be reached at 509-488-5256.