Yesterday, Sydney had an eye appointment at the Casey Eye Institute, a branch off OHSU. Even though we are quite happy with the care her regular ophthalmologist provides her, my grandma wanted us to get a second opinion just to make sure that the treatment was appropriate. I figured a second opinion couldn't really hurt.
(To catch everyone up to speed: last November we noticed Sydney's left eye crossing, and after an appointment with Kaiser Permanente's leading ophthalmologist, she got a prescription for glasses in January to correct her misalignment and extreme far-sightedness.)
Even though the appointment wasn't all that dramatic, I thought I would share some interesting information that we learned because it might be helpful to other parents of small children.
When Sydney first got her glasses, it was a bit traumatic for us. Naturally, it's always hard to learn that your child might struggle with something. But over the past few months, we have become quite used to Sydney wearing glasses (just like you said Mopsy!). She is really good about wearing them, and very careful when she takes them off (even crossing the arms and making sure they aren't on the floor). Of course, no amount of cleaning on my part can keep them clean...constant fingerprints!
But back to the appointment...
Our two big concerns were (1) does the prescription need to be so strong (6.00 in one eye; 6.50 in the other)? (2) she seems to see equally well without her glasses.
They dilated her eyes, and did a few tests like having her pick up a candy sprinkle, point to the nose on the giraffe, say what color the doggy was. The doctor also examined her eyes with lenses, and did whatever eye doctors do when they look in your eyes. At the end of it, I left knowing that the first diagnosis was the right one, but I found out a lot of information I didn't know before. The doctor informed us that, yes, her prescription did need to be that strong. "Probably could stand to be stronger, but you can wait a couple months and check her eyes then." She said that Sydney is abnormally far-sighted, more than most children her age.
As for being able to see without her glasses, she said, "She can't. She looks like she can, she adapts like she can, but it's all a blur. She has to wear her glasses, and that's why she is good about wearing them." It's really amazing to know how well she does adapt without her glasses; other than her eye crossing, I would never suspect that she had a problem.
It turns out her eye crossing is probably what saved her vision. The doctor said, "She's a sharp kid (*that's me, the proud mom*), and because she is so interested in seeing what's in front of her she works hard to focus, causing her eye to cross." If she hadn't minded everything being blurry or wanted to work hard to see, her eyes wouldn't have crossed. And without her eyes crossing, we wouldn't have guessed she had a problem. And if we hadn't corrected her vision, her brain would have compensated by cutting off communication with her eyes, and she "likely would have lost vision in both her eyes."
Suddenly puts wearing glasses in perspective, huh?
The downside is that up until age 7, she could still lose vision in one of her eyes, probably the left one (the weakest). The glasses will correct the crossing, but we have be diligent about taking her in every six months to make sure that the prescription is correct so that her brain doesn't decide that focusing is too much trouble. Nobody has to tell us the importance of constant vigilance.
So, all this to say that I'm so much more grateful for her eyes crossing than I was before. I'm so thankful that Sydney is interested in the world around her. I'm so thankful that doctors are taking good care of her.
To other parents of small children, don't ignore eye problems in your baby. At the risk of being one of those "crazy over-protective parents," those little eyes are worth taking care of no matter who you have to bother to get them checked.