Monday, January 2, 2012

Adventures in Amblyopia Part One

This is something I've been wanting to blog about for some time.  I'm not sure what's taken me so long; other than the fact that the amount of information can be overwhelming, and I'm definitely no expert.  But, I'm going to turn this into a little series, just because there is SO much to say about it!  I really hope somebody finds this helpful...

I'm sure many of you have noticed that my oldest son, Brychan, wears glasses.  He's not quite 4 yet, and has been wearing them since about 19 months.  Glasses with such a young child has been quite the experience, and I'd like to share some of the most frequently asked questions we get!

The number one question we get is: How did you know your son needed glasses?

When he was about 17 months old, I started noticing that his right eye would turn in towards his nose just ever so slightly.  It was totally random and was hard to see at first.  For several days, I just wondered if I was seeing things, but then one day it was so noticeable that I called my husband right away.  I tried to calm myself from freaking out and we made an appointment with his pediatrician. We left that appointment with a referral and an appointment to see a pediatric ophthalmologist.

Our first visit with the pediatric ophthalmologist was as good as could be expected, I guess.  We were told that he was severely near-sighted and had amblyopia (lazy eye).  I was totally confused, because Brychan could see birds and planes in the sky with no issue, and could find the tiniest any on the ground without bending over.  The doctor explained that in young children, the brain compensates for weak eyes and helps them be able to see perfectly.  Nice, right?  Not so much.  In a child with a severe vision impairment, you have until the age of 8 to correct it.  If not corrected, it could lead to blindness in that eye.  So while it's nice that the brain is helping them out, it's kind of detrimental too.

However, we were told that while it would take a very long time, with the proper management, his eye could be "fixed" (ie strong enough to not be lazy.  I don't like using the term "fixed" but for lack of a better word, there it is) and his vision could greatly improve.  Music to this devastated mother's ears!!


This was right after our first visit to the eye doctor.  It obviously didn't phase him one bit.  I, on the other hand, cried non-stop for days on end.  I knew it wasn't the end of the world; it could be much worse, and it was just glasses after all.  Both my husband and I have bad eyes, so we knew our children would need glasses eventually.  But at 18 months old? And the realization that my baby wasn't perfect was really hard to swallow.

I'll stop there for now.  But I'll be back next week with more FAQs. The moral of today's "story" is to get your child's eyes checked before they start kindergarten!!  If you notice eyes that are turning in any time after 6 months of age (before 6 months, it's developmentally normal for their eyes to wander), get them to the pediatrician asap!!

7 comments:

pasqueflower said...

Great information. Thank you for sharing this. Brychan appears to be a very happy little boy.

Lostlemonade said...

This is so good to know, thank you for sharing your experiences! Happy New Year to you and yours!

dlefler said...

Great blog! My son Nolan has amblyopia (anisometropic amblyopia) and we were grateful that his preschool vision screening caught it - he was legally blind in his right eye and we are SO grateful that he has managed to correct to 20/30 (no patching yet)!

julie cavender said...

I know it's hard not to worry. We are mothers, after all, that's what we do. My daughter had the same thing and wore a patch over the good eye for many months and glasses, too. It worked! This was 25 years ago. Her eyes are only a little near sighted now. So it will be OK. You did the best thing you could do by having it looked at!

Amithigirl said...

What great info for new parents. Happy New Year!

Anthony and Erin Mills said...

I totally understand! When Liam was about 10 1/2 months old He would scream whenever I would bend his knees to put his pants on after diaper changes, but since he wasn't walking we didn't really notice anything else. We took him to the doctor thinking maybe he had sprained his knee or something. We later found out that he has juvenile arthritis. Yes it is terrifying to think something is wrong with your child. Juvenile arthritis is somewhat of a less explored illness so most medications and treatments have bad affects. Liam was put on the most mild treatment that can destroy the lining in his stomach, but that was our best option. We were also told that he would need knee surgery to remove built up lining and fluids in his joint. That was a lot for one mommy to take in. So months and months of medication and physical therapy, Liam is currently in REMISSION! He might be in remission for the rest of his life or it may come back, we don't know. So Alyssa, I know what you mean! When I thought about having a baby never ever did I think I would be dealing with anything like this, but alas here we are and I am stronger because of it. Also the eye thing yes...related to his arthritis he also just recently has had an arthritic inflammatory disease in the back of his eyes that is scary and can cause blindness as well. We are treating it with heavy steroids several times a day, but he is doing well, so hopefully it will respond well to treatment

Carla said...

My son is 3. We just discovered last Friday that he has amblyopia & needs glasses. The optometrist didn't have any frames small enough in stock so we are headed out in a couple hours to pick out some glasses for my boy!
Thank-you, Thank-you for your blog!

When I found out about Wyatt's vision I cried for 2 days...and am still weepy at times. I know it could be worse & I am thankful that it's *just glasses*. I found the whole thing hard to swallow & I felt foolish & alone for being so upset. Everyone around me kept saying *it could be worse*, *it's just glasses...no big deal* etc.... I already KNOW that, I just wanted someone to get it, to understand that I know he will be fine, but I need some time to adjust ok? Thank-you for making me not alone!!! I was totally blindsided....there was NO indication that he was having ANY issue at all, it was time for his older sister's (who REALLY wants glasses but has 20/20 vision lol) check up so I booked an appointment for Wyatt as well. Total fluke!

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