Monday, January 9, 2012

Adventures in Amblyopia Part Two

Before I get started with today's article, I just wanted to let you know that I am hosting a giveaway over at The Tuckers Take Tennessee! Head on over to check out Meghan's review of my car seat covers, and enter to win one for yourself!

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(If this your first time here, please feel free to start  here!)

Having a child in glasses is an entirely new world.  It's amazing how one little set of eyes changes things.  As a mom, it adds several new dimensions to worrying...general concern and worry over your child's health, worries about the cost involved with quarterly trips to the opthamologist and frequent prescription changes, worries about how others perceive your child (when before glasses, I didn't think twice about it!), and worries about your child's feelings once they realize they have something a bit different about them.

People ask a lot of questions.  We've been lucky thus far, and haven't had many negative questions (or comments) regarding Brychan's glasses or need for them.  Here are a few more questions we get on a regular basis.

Probably the number two question that we get is :
How do you get him to keep his glasses on?

This is on the way home from picking up his very first pair of glasses.

That one is simple! He can see with them on, he knows he can see with them on, and so he really has no desire to take them off.**  There was a small learning curve when we first started, but seriously, by the third day, he was good to go. I can tell when he's ready for a prescription change, because that's when he doesn't want to wear his glasses anymore. For those of you who are blessed with perfect eyes are aren't familiar with this process: when your prescription is wrong, it causes side-effects. The most noticeable being headaches. So obviously, going without the glasses is more comfortable.

**I know I said in last weeks post that their little brains compensate for the lack of perfect eyesight, so I know it sounds contradictory that I now say he can tell that he can't see without his glasses.  I really have no answer for that, other than just assuming that finally using the glasses helps trigger the brain to realize it doesn't have to do all the work anymore.  If anybody reading this has a more scientific answer, please jump in! :)

So the next obvious question is: Doesn't he break them all the time?

I'm not gonna lie. The first 6 months were kind of crazy. First off, he wasn't even 2 yet when he got them. Secondly, he's an extremely active little boy. Add to that a curious little brother who wants to grab at the glasses all the time, and yes. We went through lots of pairs of glasses in the beginning. But, thanks to Walmart and their 100% free replacement program, it really wasn't that big of a deal. Now, though, we just go in on occasion to get the glasses re-adjusted. I can't remember the last time we had a broken pair.

FYI?  Buying frames for little faces is not an easy task.  Nor is it necessarily cheap. Many places don't even carry frames for little ones.  I think we stopped at 3 or 4 different places before finally settling on Walmart.  And then, once you find frames for little faces, it's hard to find frames that will fit well. For us, buying a super cheap pair of frames and utilizing Walmart's replacement program was the best route.  I know many families end up ordering their child's frames online.  Some are lucky enough that their pediatric opthamologist's office carries frames as well.  I think those are the super lucky ducks!

BTW, this cute guy is Brychan's cousin, Zachary.  
Zach is less than 6 months younger than Brychan.  You'll hear more about his story later,
but obviously eye care concerns run in the family.

Now.  Before I go any further, I want to clarify the difference between an optometrist and an opthamologist.  An optometrist does 4 years of undergraduate schooling plus 4 years of specialized training.  An optometrist has training in basic eye care and treatment; prescriptions and eye diseases.  They do not have a MD title, but an OD title.

An opthamologist goes to 4 years of medical school, does a year of internship and then 3 years of residency before earning their MD.  Opthamologists receive specialized training for all factors of eye health care and diagnosis, including surgery.

In my personal opinion...optometrists are fantastic for your basic eye exams.  My husband and I go to an optometrist for our eye care needs.  However, for specialized needs and young children, I would always use an opthamologist.

Until next week...


Dishfunctional Designs said...

Nice, informative post.
Laura from EBT :)

SisterBatik said...

Spectacles absolutely suit him! From EBT

Anonymous said...

Great post!

We're some of the lucky ones - with a glasses shop just a mile away from us that caters specifically to kids. The choices were kind of overwhelming the first time we went in.

As for leaving them on when they can compensate, as far as I can tell, it just depends on the kid. Zoe took about 2 weeks before she left hers on. The thing with compensating for bad vision is that it strains the eyes (and can pull them out of alignment). So even though they can see clearly without glasses, they might be seeing double, and might be getting headaches from the effort of focusing. It's just a matter of learning to let the glasses do the focusing for them. Like I said, for some, it happens almost immediately, but I've heard stories of other kids that take months before they accept their glasses.

Daydreaming Realist said...

I have to drive my son nearly an hour away to see an opthamologist, but that man is amazing! he really loves children & he's incredibly patient & personable. My little fella is affected by this condition, also. He looks SO cute with his glass on, though & they help him enjoy daily life much easier. I'm glad that doctors can help small children with vision impairments--even ones that cannot speak, yet.


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