Contacts reduce stress

By Lara Sokoloff

Defensive lineman number 74 faces the opposing quarter back on the football field, but can’t see exactly where his opponent stands. He goes in for the tackle, hitting him twice as hard to compensate for his lack of depth perception.

Andrew Green ’12 was born with strabismus, a condition where the eyes are not properly aligned with each other causing the eyes to look in different directions.

It is commonly referred to as cross-eyed, wall-eyed or squint. Green can only use one eye at a time due to the condition.

He underwent correctional surgery at just over a year old, during which the muscles in his eyes were cut and sewed back together.

Doctors wait until patients are in their mid-20s to fully correct the misalignment because the condition could change in severity throughout puberty, Green said.

Green wears correctional contact lenses that help reduce the stress on his eyes. He sees 20/15 out of one eye and 20/20 out of his other, leaving minimal room for actual visual correction, he said.

“It makes everything easier so that my eyes are more focused on working together as a unit, rather than average mundane eye function,” he said.

His vision has varied throughout his childhood.

“There was one time when I was seeing double,” Green said. “But it was good because I was 10 and it gave me something to do all day.”

In ninth grade, Green’s condition severely worsened, forcing him to miss class often. He had eight doctors on call at that time, he said.

Green is most affected in the classroom, specifically when taking tests.

“My eyes are going back and forth and back and forth and they just work ridiculously hard,” he said. “My brain just dies faster than most because I can’t keep up with the pace.”

Green said he was mocked as a child for being “cross-eyed.”

“I was called dirty, dirty names my entire life,” he said. “I used to wear glasses and got punched in the face a lot.”

Now he is often asked if he is paying attention during conversations.

“I tend to just say, ‘Yeah, of course,’ and just kind of play stupid because that’s my go-to thing,” Green said. “We live in a society where people want this incredible amount of undivided attention from so many people. They get really self-conscious when they don’t know where you’re looking. “