This post comes from Jomama at You Can’t Go Back Again. Her son Jesse is the newest addition to our photo gallery page, and wears glasses for amblyopia and hyperopia (farsightedness). This story of Jesse’s diagnosis is copied with permission from this post at You Can’t Go Back Again. -Ann Z
Hey there, Four Eyes!
I love my little guy in his glasses. I hope he doesn’t get made fun of when he’s older. I don’t know if he will or not. But I know he needs them and he looks sweet in them. He’s pretty good about keeping them on though he is rough on them. He’s a boy though. I wouldn’t expect him not to be rough on them.
Jesse was diagnosed with hyperopia and amblyopia shortly after his second birthday. Common treatment for amblyopia includes patching. Jesse’s eye straightened out when Dr. T (Joseph Terravecchia of Pediatric and Adult Vision Care, who Jesse adores) put the prescription in front of him so we went with lenses. He will need them for at least 5 years. If they stop working we will try patching and surgery is always an option for more severe cases.
Jesse had an InfantSEE exam when he was 9 months old. He took to Dr. T immediately. He also got a clean bill of health. We never noticed anything wrong with his vision and his pediatrician never picked up on anything. I first noticed something when Jesse was about 22 months old. I took a picture with my phone and it looked like his eyes were crossed in it.
At first I dismissed it – babies tend to cross their eyes when trying to focus on something and I thought maybe they just continue to do that for a while even as they grow. But within a week or so it was apparent to me that there was something else going on. I could tell it was only the right eye drifting in as opposed to both eyes and that gave me pause.
I brought it up to Dan and my mom and a couple other people and no one else saw anything. I knew I wasn’t crazy so I called Dr. T (who I also see for myself) and made an appointment for right after Jesse’s birthday, hoping I’d be recovered well enough from Simon’s birth to take him.
The day before Simon was born I took Jesse to the mall for a special Mommy and Me day. We played at the play area, ate Chick-Fil-A and Dairy Queen and then headed downstairs to ride the train and see the Easter Bunny. While in line a woman asked if I’d ever had his eyes examined. I told her no but we had an appointment in a couple weeks because I noticed his right eye drifting in. She nodded her head and said “amblyopia” and that was the first time I heard that term. She noticed it too. I knew I wasn’t nuts. It tended to happen more in the evening and when he was tired. On the day Simon was born it was very obvious.
A few weeks later we saw Dr. T and I expected to start patching. But he prescribed the glasses. I had no idea how we were going to keep glasses on a 2 year old, but it’s worked out really well. Hopefully we will have great success with this and not have to explore other options for him in the future.
Even though Jesse’s issue wasn’t discovered at his InfantSEE exam because it developed later, I think having had his exam made me more aware of his eye health and having the relationship already started between Jesse and Dr. T made it very simple to get him help when he needed it.
InfantSEE (by the American Optometric Association) is a public health program developed to help eye and vision care become an integral part of comprehensive infant care. Through this program, babies can receive a free eye exam between the ages of 6 and 12 months. A baby’s pediatrician checks their eyes at their well baby visits but there are issues that cannot be caught this way. Early treatment is key to eye health for many children. The Parents’ Center at InfantSEE explains things about a child’s eye health that every parent should be aware of.
Now I serve as part of the Mom’s Council with InfantSEE. Moms in the group have incredible stories about how InfantSEE saved their child’s vision… even their lives. One mother’s baby was diagnosed with retinoblastoma and started immediate treatment. Six months of chemotherapy later, her cancer is shrunken and shriveled and she’s healthy and being closely watched. She is an extreme case, but with free care available, why not make an appointment? Why wait? If your baby is between 6 and 12 months, younger or you are currently expecting, go to the site, check it out, make an appointment or write yourself a reminder to do so when the time comes.
Amblyopia is pretty easy to treat when it’s caught early.
I didn’t see any mention of video games on your website. Some sports can also be very helpful. New research shows that some computer games can show good results in one hour. One parent treated her 6-year-old child with computer games and sports like homemade bowling. Her child went from 20/400 to 20/20 in 4 months. You can read about it here
“The key might be to do a sport where your eye (while patching) has to track something, moving toward and away from you, that you are trying to hit with your hand. This can be homemade bowling. This can be hitting a large balloon back and forth. This can be ping-pong. A lot of the research has been focused on computer games, rather than something that moves closer and away from you in real, physical space. The distance covered should be fairly large, say more than six feet. This should be more helpful than doing Legos, which my pediatric eye doctor recommended.”
I would love to learn about your experiences on the moms council of InfantSee. We had no idea this existed, but have struggled with vision since she was 6 m old and it would have been another resource for us. I just went on the website and found that there is even a provider in our city.
I would suggest doing eye exercises with your child if they have an eye problem.
William Bates. He’s a great author.
Try Janet Goodrich also. She writes a book specifically for children.
Vision problems like amblyopia can develop in children anytime from birth and are not always obvious to parents. Until a child can fully respond verbally to the letters on a standard eye chart, it is often difficult, even for pediatricians, to determine if these silent vision issues are present.
Many pediatricians’ offices across the country are now offering a test called the Enfant Pediatric VEP Vision Testing System as part of their preventative healthcare arsenal.
– Is a high-tech, clinically proven vision test now available in many pediatricians’ offices.
-Is a non-invasive, child-friendly medical device that tests for visual deficits in even pre-verbal children as young as six months of age.
-Uses technology called Visual Evoked Potential (VEP), which evaluates the child’s response to an external stimulus to test what the brain is seeing. Through VEP, the Enfant is able to identify vision deficits that a physician might not otherwise detect during more conventional, subjective eye exams.
– The first and only pediatric vision test of its kind, the Enfant delivers 97 percent sensitivity in detecting visual deficits.
– The test can be easily incorporated into a child’s routine pediatrician “well” visit and can be completed in five to seven minutes.
– Features animated characters and graphics accompanied by music.
– In most cases, the test is reimbursable by insurance.
For more information on the Enfant Pediatric VEP Vision Testing System or to find a doctor offering the test in your area, visit http://www.enfantvision.com.
my four year old has ambliopia, strabismus and hyperopia. Would love to chat with you more. I just started a group on facebook…parents of the vision impared. No one on it yet. But hope to find parents to chat with and see how different things are working for them. I don’t know anyone else with my child’s condition.
Welcome Jennifer! Quite a few of us have kids with amblyopia or strabismus or hyperopia – often all three (Zoe has strabismus and hyperopia, but no amblyopia so far). Please feel free to post any questions or thoughts and I know others will chime in as well.
You might want to check out a couple of other facebook groups: Little Four Eyes has a group for parents of kids in glasses, no matter what the diagnosis. There’s also the group Pediatric Esotropia/ Exotropia/ Strabismus/ Amblyopia/ Cross-eyed Awareness, and the group Parents of Children with Strabismus and Parents whose children need to wear eye patches for a medical reason. There’s some other links on the Resources for Parents page that lists forums and communities if you’re looking for other places to connect with other parents.
oh how wonderful. It can be soo confusing. I dont’ know anyone else whose children have these. I will definitely add them. Thank you.
I didn’t know anyone whose child wore glasses either – let alone had strabismus, that’s a big part of why I ended up starting this blog. It’s so easy to feel alone in this, but there are a lot of us here.
Thank you for sharing your story! I found this blog after googling different eye terms like hyperopic, etc. I’m so comforted because this is exactly, I mean to the detail exactly what is happening with my daughter right now, who turned two in July. I went to the exam for the same reason (crossing left eye) and turns out she’s far sighted and needed glasses as well. I had the same fears but she’s done great this first week with them. I’m very proud of her. Thanks for sharing your story and letting this mama feel better 🙂