glasses aren’t enough

Zoe had another eye appointment today, this time to follow-up on her new prescription. Unfortunately, while the doctor (and I) could see that the glasses were helping with her eyes, as the doctor said, it was only better, not perfect. As in all the other appointments, the doctor had Zoe look at a toy up close, and she would hold lenses up in front of Zoe’s glasses to see if the stronger prescription would straighten out her eyes. Unlike the other appointments, none of the lenses made any difference.

Zoes crossed eyes

Zoe's crossed eyes

So in essence, we’ve done as much as we can with glasses, and the doctor brought up surgery. I knew the possibility was there. When I was being honest with myself before the appointment, I knew that it was even likely, but it didn’t make it any easier to hear or think about. We asked a whole bunch of questions, and we’re satisfied that the surgery is our next step. The surgery is scheduled for a month from today. It is apparently an easy, outpatient surgery, probably less than an hour, with a recovery of one day.

I was really shaky and upset this morning after the appointment, but I’m slowly coming around to accept that this will be ok, that Zoe will be ok, and in fact, we’re hoping she’ll be better than ok, and her eyes will start to work together so that she can start developing binocular vision. That’s what this is about, right. This is about her, this is about getting Zoe what she needs for her vision. I keep trying to remind myself that we have so much to be grateful for, that she is healthy, that her strabismus is treatable, that we caught it early. But it’s hard, I had been so hoping that the glasses alone would be sufficient.



I suppose one good thing is that the discussions with the ophthalmologist pointed out just how much I’ve grown to love Zoe’s glasses – which was not always the case. This morning, when the eye doctor said Zoe would still need glasses after the surgery, I sighed a little sigh of relief that she’d get the keep wearing them, because I think she looks so dang cute in those specs.

Still, I won’t lie, I’m nervous, sad, and trying not to freak out.  If anyone’s gone through eye surgery with their kid, I’d love some reassurance.

13 responses to “glasses aren’t enough

  1. From everything I’ve read, the surgery is a fairly standard outpatient procedure. In one of the forums that I browse, the parents of the kids who have had the surgery indicate that the recovery is fairly fast as well. I suggest you may want to visit the forum – I found it reassuring to see posts from many parents whose kids have gone through the surgery. (Forum is the Prevent Blindness America website forum for children’s eyes topic.)

    Please keep us posted on how Zoe is doing. She does look cute in her glasses.

    I’m also wondering if you can post (when you have some time) the types of questions you asked the doctor in regards to the surgery. C’s appointment is at the end of September (which I’m trying to see if I can move up to August or early Sept), and I’m also thinking surgery may be discussed so I want to be as ready with as many questions if it does come up.

    Thanks for sharing with us.


  2. As you know, eye doctors always hope the esotropia is fully controlled by the glasses (i.e. is fully accommodative) in that situation, eye doctors don’t do surgery. If it is not folly controlled, then they consider surgery.

    While I always hope my patients do not need surgery, when it is indicated, it can be the only option and can have amazing results.

    The good news is that because strabismus surgery is not intra-ocular (inside the eye, like cataract surgery), it is pretty easy to recover from.

    Please keep us posted on Zoe. 🙂


  3. Thanks MaP, I did post a couple of questions on the Prevent Blindness forum after your comment.

    Brighteyesnews, I really appreciate your commenting and reassurance. I had very much hoped that the glasses would resolve the esotropia completely, but it is nice to hear that the surgery can have good results, and that the recovery is easy. I will absolutely keep everyone posted on how things go.


  4. Pingback: A roundup of things « Gwinn in MN·

  5. Oh you guys, you are in our thoughts and prayers. I can’t imagine how worried you must be, I hope it goes well and you both survive! Zoe will be fine, it’s way worse for you two! 🙂 Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help!


  6. None of my kiddos have ever needed surgery, but we have gone through MRIs and other procedures, and at least for us, it is always harder on mom and dad than it is on the kid. Before Em’s MRI, I was practically a basket case because of the anesthesia involved. But the staff was so good at what they do that they made it easier on us and on her.

    I hope Zoe has a similar experience and that she bounces back quickly.


  7. As we’ve talked to other people about the surgery, we’ve heard exactly that – that it’s harder on the parents than the kids. Did you try to talk to your kids and explain about the procedure before hand? I’m trying to decide what and how we want to tell Zoe about the procedure. I don’t want to worry her, but also don’t feel right not telling her anything at all.


  8. Hi Ann,
    As we discussed on babieswithglasses forum – Mia had her follow-up appoint this morning. We have to try a higher prescription (from +2.5 to +4) and after a month if things have not improved with her strabismus then surgery will be the next step.
    Again she identified all the vision test pictures. Hard to understand the higher prescription. I think it is to make her work harder on focusing to strengthen her eyes.
    What date does Zoe have her surgery?
    Thanks for caring!


  9. Ann, when they were young, no we didn’t. Em was 4 when she had her MRI and we did tell her a little bit about it before hand, but not enough to scare her. As young as Zoe is, I don’t even know what you could tell her, other than she’s going to the dr.


  10. Megan, thanks for the update, I was thinking about you yesterday and wondering what you found out. It does seem strange that they would up the prescription if her vision is good. Zoe’s surgery is early in the morning of Aug. 25.

    Amanda, that’s my thought, too. I don’t know what I could tell her. But maybe just that she’s going to see the doctor will be ok.


  11. I linked to your site through Charlotte Quigley’s site, and I just thought I’d post a comment since my son Shaun had eye surgery when he was almost 20 months old. He had 4th nerve palsy in his right eye, so it would often not line up with his left eye. It really was much harder for us than for him. We didn’t tell him beforehand, because I don’t think he would have understood. We made sure to schedule his surgery for first thing in the morning since he wasn’t allowed to eat or drink beforehand due to the anesthesia. I can’t remember if this was for the surgery, or because his doctor was going to do a full eye exam while he was under, but they gave him 3 different eye drops at three separate intervals the morning of the surgery, and that was the worst part for him. The surgery itself was only about 45 minutes (the longest 45 minutes of my life!). Once he was somewhat awake, we went back into the recovery room with him and I held him until he was really awake. Then he got to try some applesauce and graham crackers and since he kept that down we were allowed to go home. His nap was a bit longer that day, but other than that he acted as though nothing had happened. He cried for some random baby reason later that day, and it was a bit weird to see bloody tears, but they became more clear as the day wore on. Oh, and he had to have an ointment put in his eye that night, which he fought us on because I think he was recalling the eye drops from that morning.
    Anyway, this may have been a bit more detail than you needed, but I hope it reassures you somewhat. It’s never easy when your child needs surgery, and I’m sure Zoe will get much better sleep than you before the surgery date! But I hope all goes well and that Zoe has great results with her vision afterwards.


  12. Actually now that I think about it, we may have told Shaun that we were going to the doctor so that she could make his eyes work better.


  13. Wow, thank you everyone for the responses.

    MotherhoodandPotatoes, I am working on a post about questions we asked (and those I wish we’d asked).

    Julie, thank you for all the information, it was very helpful and reassuring, definitely not too much detail, I like reading that sort of thing.


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