Monday, August 31, 2009

Windows to the Soul

Three out of four children in this household have vision issues of some kind.
(Does the 19 yr old still count as a child? Because he totally lives here most of the time and technically he still eats our food and drinks our tea...sometimes...when he's not somewhere else. I'm rambling. Back to the topic...)
It all began when Darling Daughter was about 2 years old. Her left eye began to drift inward and it became more and more noticeable. Off to the eye doctor we went. She was diagnosed with amblyopia (also known as lazy eye) and swiftly put into the cutest little pair of bubblegum pink bifocals you've ever seen. Then followed the patching of the "good" eye for hours a day until the other eye was much improved and she was ready for corrective surgery.
She wore glasses until 2nd grade, hasn't needed them since and never looked back.
But wasn't she adorable in her little pink frames??

About two months after Darling Daughter's eye surgery, the twins were born. Along with their early arrival came all sorts of worries over the condition of their eyes. Pip was diagnosed with the dreaded Retinopathy of Prematurity while still in the NICU and so we were already making regular visits to our pediatric eye specialist by the time his left eye began to turn in, too. Pip got his very first pair of glasses at the ripe old age of 7 months. The glasses spent much more time in his mouth than they did on his face, but eventually he learned. His good eye was patched in hopes that his weaker eye would catch up, but that was not to happen. Over the years it was determined that the back of Pip's eye is underdeveloped and therefore it is never going to have 20/20 vision. Also, he has something called DVD which has nothing to do with recording stuff off of tv or watching has to do with eye alignment.
OK, let's just say that Pip's two eyes don't work together for binocular vision. The point is that Pip relies on his glasses from the moment he wakes until he falls asleep at night. He even swims with prescription goggles so he can see where he's going underwater! In fact, he has two pairs with the same prescription because boys tend to be rough on glasses, and also his Jiu Jitsu teacher sat on a pair and squashed them.
The Oldest wears contacts and has since age fifteen. No big deals or issues, just can't see perfectly. And then there is Quatro, who has better than 20/20 vision just like his mama!
Anyway, why did I tell you all of this?
Well, scroll past my charming baby's photo and I'll share...

Because you should take your child for a GOOD eye exam. Don't depend on the school nurse or the assistant at the pediatrician's office to tell you that your child either has perfect vision or that they need glasses. A good pediatric eye doctor will check your child's peripheral vision, eye pressures, and all sorts of things that they're not going to discover standing in the school ofice covering one eye with a cup.

And just so you know...the school nurse sent Pip home every year with a letter informing me that he was (gasp!) legally blind and needed to see a doctor right away! I always wondered where she thought he got those little gold frames on his face?? Also, the pediatrician's office told me last Thursday not to let Darling Daughter drive again until her vision was checked. Low and behold she has 20/25 vision and doesn't need correction. Just saying...things a qualified, practiced, educated eye doctor can tell that maybe a frazzled nurse's assistant cannot. Take your child to a real eye doctor at least once before he or she begins school. If not before. Please. And certainly again when they begin driving!

Ok, down off my soapbox now.

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