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.