Can squint be trained away? 90% success rate - no surgery

Strabismus (the medical term for squinting) is a very obvious problem that is an endless source of embarrassment. Children with diverging eyes are often subject to name-calling in school and on the playground and there is an enormous psychological and emotional cost. About 2% of children are born with Strabismus or develop it before the age of two. At present there is no known cause, or to put it simply, nobody knows why some children develop a divergent eye.

By far the most common form of Strabismus is esotropia (from the Greek eso, meaning in) when the eye turns in towards the nose. The eye can also turn out (exotropia), up (hypertropia) or down (hypotropia). As soon as the eye turns past the midline of vision the brain starts suppressing all input in order to avoid confusing double images. Physically there is nothing wrong with the eye apart from uncoordinated muscle movements. The root of the problem lies in the way the brain coordinates movement of the eye muscles. The divergent eye often becomes Ambliopic, meaning that it is not possible to correct the vision to better than 20/30 with lenses. Most children have Comitant Strabismus, which means that no matter where they look, the degree of deviation does not change. With Incomitant Strabismus, the divergence depends upon the direction of the eyes.

Esophoria is when the eye turn towards the nose.

The preferred medical treatment for Strabismus is surgery when one or more of the eye-muscles are either tightened or weakened. Some doctors believe that surgery should be done before the age of 6 or it is too late. Unfortunately, many of the children who undergo Strabismus surgery rarely achieve normal three-dimensional vision. Their eyes may look straight but they are living in a one-eyed world with no depth perception.

The optometric approach uses high-powered plus lenses or bifocal lenses and prisms to correct the divergence in an attempt to force the divergent eye to be normal. However, the glasses do not cure the Strabismus and there is no guarantee that both eyes are actually working together.

The Magic Eyes Vision Training approach assumes that the child’s brain is perfectly capable of controlling the eyes. So the focus is on re-educating the brain to change the way it coordinates the child’s eyes. Strabismus is best solved with a mind/body approach. In fact Vision Training research shows that 80% of Strabismus cases can be treated successfully with Vision Training exercises and, in fact, this has been known since the 1940s.

Eyes are straight as they should be.

Leo Angart, creator of the Magic Eyes programme, says that it is mind boggling that people should think about operating on the eye muscles of a child when there are simple treatments available with a better than 80% rate of success.

What appeared to be a miraculous cure of Strabismus happened to Isabella, a 10-year-old girl with large and very pretty eyes. She had been to many eye doctors, with all of them recommending surgery. However, Isabella’s mother did not feel right about allowing doctors to operate on her daughter’s eyes. Hearing about Magic Eyes from friends, Isabella and her mother travelled for three hours to attend the workshop with Leo Angart.

A miracle happened when, after just one exercise, Isabella’s eyes became straight. Leo Angart said that this was exceptional because usually parents need to practice the Vision Training exercises with their children for a few days or weeks before results begin to show. Isabella’s mother was flabbergasted; “I thought we had to do exercises for a few months. I was amazed. I am also thankful that I held out against the doctors who, in some cases, accused me of being a bad mother because I refused to let them operate on Isabella’s eyes. This is something wonderful and from the bottom of my heart I thank you for what can only be described as a miracle.”

Leo asked Isabella what she would say to her doctor. Isabella replied: “I don’t need to see any doctors!”

There is a common misconception that Strabismus is caused by a weak eye-muscle. This is nonsense since the brain is in perfect control of the eye. Leo Angart says; try covering the dominant eye and you will see that it is perfectly capable of looking in any direction you want, with perfect control. It is so important to get knowledge about this out into the world. We talk about saving whales and other creatures – why don’t we do something about saving children from unnecessary surgery?

A young boy has his astigmatism checked.

Leo Angart created the Magic Eyes programme in response to the enormous need for an effective method to deal with not only Strabismus but also other common vision problems such as near-sight (myopia), far-sight (hyperopia), eye-coordination, astigmatism, etc. In Europe and North America, the prevalence of myopia in school children is about 20%. However, vision problems in children have reached crisis proportions in many Asian countries. For example, 78% of high school children in Taipei are nearsighted and the situation is similar in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Leo Angart has solid scientific evidence to support his claims and has worked with children and adults for many years. “It is my experience that normal or near normal vision can be regained but it will involve some work on the part of the patient,” says Leo Angart and, “for the best results, I recommend exercising the eye for one or two minutes at a time, but often.” The Magic Eyes programme focuses not only on the child but also on empowering parents to facilitate the change without the need of expensive visits to a clinic. The exercises are very simple; they are safe to do at home and are designed specifically for correcting Strabismus.

For more information about Magic eyes and Leo Angart’s workshops visit

What one mother said

Jasch’ story

When my son Jasch was four years old in 2009 he was diagnosed with hyperopia, strabismus and amblyopia and must now wear glasses (Right eye + 3.5 and Left eye +4.0 diopters). Then six month later Jasch started to wear a patch over his good eye, so his weaker eye could develop. Another six months later Jasch was diagnosed with astigmatism as well. So his vision had deteriorated and become worse. I felt completely helpless.

Every time we visited the eye doctor we saw children with eye problems. The mothers had to forcefully hold the the children down against their will, so the doctor could apply the eye drops. I could not forget these children’s protest. My son also did not like the eyedrops. He cried and said “mama why is this necessary I cannot see.”

I was distraught and was looking everywhere for alternatives. Then I came across Leo Angart’s book. I was fascinated to read that there was actually workshops for children. I and my son attended the very next workshop in Munich, 2011.

What I heard in the workshop was astonishing and surprising. With courage after the first seminar day I removed Jasch’s glasses and put them in my handbag. We did the exercises Leo recommended as often as was possible. We noticed improvement very quickly and Jasch did not wear his glasses anymore.

We tested Jasch’s eyesight with the eye chart and are happy that he does not need glasses. When he is very tired or sick his left eye turn slightly inward, but when he has rested his eyes are back to normal. Every school holiday we do four days eye training as maintenance.

I wish everyone who wants to improve their eyesight lots of success, and please continue the exercises until you succeed.

Susanne Brown, Nürenberg (2014)

The science of strabismus

Usually strabismus is managed by means of prism lenses or corrected by surgically weakening or tightening the eye-muscles. Often there is immense pressure placed on parents to give permission for their children to undergo surgery. However, the result of strabismus surgery is not impressive. In many cases it is only a cosmetic procedure failing to achieve stereoscopic vision.

Efficacy of the non-surgical vision training approach

In 1987 B. Wick did a retrospective examination of the records of 54 patients who had undergone vision treatment for accommodative esotropia – eye turning in. The patients were classified based on the Duane classification as having either convergence excess (n = 11) or equal eso-diversions (n = 43). Over 90% of the patients achieved total restoration of normal binocular function with this treatment approach.

Accommodative esotropia, efficacy of therapy , Journal of American Optometry Association, 58, 562-566,1987.

G. Chryssanthou studied 27 patients with intermittent exotropia – one eye turned out – ages ranging from 5 years to 33 years of age. A total of 89% of patients showed definite improvement, with 66.6% graded excellent 6 months to 2.5 years after treatment.

Orthopic management of intermittent exotropia , American Orthoptic Journal, 24: 69-72, 1974.

Dr. Gary Etting O.D., F.C.O.V.D. reported a 65% overall success rate in patients with constant strabismus. Specifically, 57% for esotropes (eye turning in) and 82% for exotropes (eye turning out). There was an impressive 89% success rate with intermittent strabismus. Specifically, 100% of esotropes (eye turning in) and 85% of exotropes (eye turning out). Dr. Etting reported an astonishing 91% success rate when retinal correspondence was normal. Strabismus therapy in private practice: Cure rates after three months of therapy ,

Journal of the American Optometric Association, 49: 1367-1373, 1978.

Flax and Duckman examined the effectiveness of orthoptics as a viable modality for treating strabismus. They reviewed the pertinent literature and presented an analysis of the data. The result of numerous studies showed a combined functional cure rate of 74%.

Orthoptic treatment of strabismus, Journal of the American Optometric Association, 49: 1353-1361, 1978.

W.M. Ludlam evaluated the efficacy of orthoptic strabismus treatment in 149 selected strabismus sufferers who received vision training treatment, and determined a 73% overall success rate.

Orthoptic treatment of strabismus , Am. J. Otom. Arch. Am Acad Optom, 38: 369-388, 1961.

In a subsequent study, Ludlam and Kleinman found the long-term success rate of vision therapy for strabismus to be 65%. The long range results of orthopic treatment of strabismus,

Am J. Optom. Arch. Am. Acad. Optom, 42: 647-684, 1965.

J.J. Bryer in Assessment of the results of orthoptic treatment in heterophoria , Br. Orthopt J., 18, 87-89, 1961 investigated the long-term effects of treatment of herterophoria. Of 89 patients whose initial symptoms were completely relieved during treatment, 81% remained symptom free on follow up 6 – 10 years after treatment. Only 4% experienced a recurrence of symptoms severe enough to require further treatment.

Also J.L. Vaegan reported successful results with isometric training in a 1979 study Convergence and divergence show large and sustained improvement after short isometric exercise .

Am J. Optom Physiol. Opt. 56, 23-33, 1979.

Many of the above studies may seem dated. However, the strabismic condition remains unchanged through time and the efficacy is thus still relevant and important.

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Leo Angart

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