Monday, December 28, 2009

Shaylin's Amblyopia Story

Thanks to Shaylin's mother for sharing her daughter's amblyopia adventure!

My daughter Shaylin is 5 years old as of Dec 22ND. I always had a gut feeling something was not right with her left eye. To me it looked smaller and it was always tearing. But my husband thought I was crazy and I was just a novice paranoid mom (which I really wasn't) :) Anyhow I took my hubby's advice and left it alone. Recently my daughter started VPK and she started talking about school alot and while we were having dinner she was reading the time off the microwave that she could see from the dinner table. So out of curiosity I asked her to cover her left eye and tell me what she saw and she said everything right then I told her to cover her right and she got so frustrated and told me I can't see it. I was totally shocked and immediately I had flash backs of her daycare teacher asking me if there was anything wrong with her eye when she was 1 years old. I was so upset and I made an appointment with the optometrist and they confirmed that something was wrong. They told me she had lazy eye and that I would have to see an Ophthalmologist. We made an appt and he confirmed she had Amblyopia and she would wear glasses for 8 weeks and recheck. Well she did improve some but he wants her to improve much more so on Thursday Dec 24Th when she had her recheck he told her she has to wear patches for 9 hours a day. My daughter is so good she wears it and does not complain one bit except last night she had a total fit because she said it hurts to take it off. But when I took it off she did not even feel it and was laughing. Anyhow we go back to the doc for recheck on Feb 25Th.

With the glasses her vision was 20/20 on the R which was 20/20 anyway and 20/80 on the left which apparently was 20/200. I will keep you guys posted and thanks for inviting me to post Shaylin's ( My Patch Princess) story.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Luna and the Big Blur - Book Review

Luna and the Big Blur: A Story for Children Who Wear Glasses Revised Edition 
Last year when my daughter started wearing glasses, it was a big giant hurdle for her to leap over. She really didn't want to wear glasses, because she felt that "princesses didn't wear glasses" and that she wouldn't look pretty any longer. This was a tough blow for me because everyone in the family (including myself) wore them. Luckily the reality set in for her once she got them and realized "Wow!" just how much now she could actually see compared to before, she became more compliant with wearing them. However, the glasses coupled with the fact that she was tasked with wearing an eye patch daily for amblyopia - her self esteem took a big hit.

Luna and the Big Blur was just one of a handful of books that I picked up to help her get through the adjustment of wearing glasses. I purchased it in hardcover version though it does also come in paperback, also. The book is authored by Shirley Day with illustrations by Don Morris.

The main character in Luna and the Big Blur has to wear glasses and she hates them. Even though she picked the glasses out all by herself (and they are yellow and red polka dots) she really doesnt' like them, not one bit. She also doesn't like her name, Luna - and thinks she is named after a Tuna Fish. In an attempt to rid herself of the glasses and do without she takes them off but then she ends up doing one mistake after the next (like stir the fishbowl instead of soup). It seems Luna is having quite a bit of an identity complex and she is having a hard time of it.

In the book, Luna has a heart to heart talk with her father who explains that her name Luna is not because she is named for a fish but for the moon. With the reassuring words of her dad, little Luna realizes she is special for who she is and decides that she will wear her glasses. Awww...!!!

The message in Luna and the Big Blur is a good one and I love that this is a father-daughter book, it is positively tender. But absolutely our favorite part of this book is the illustrations. Luna with her oversized glasses that make her eyes even larger than they are - similar to my daughter who has lenses for farsightedness that make her eyes look even larger than they already are. My daughter could relate to Luna not liking her glasses and felt badly when Luna didn't wear them and ended up making a lot of mistakes. The mistakes are overexaggerated to make a point, as surely you wouldn't really mistake the goldfish bowl for a pot of soup.

Overall, I was glad to add this one to our collection of books when my daughter needed to get her glasses. She still asks to read it time and again and it has provided some good discussion between us. The book would be best for kids ages 4-7 who need to wear glasses. When we finish with this book I'll probably give it to my daughter's ophthalmologist to have in his office where it would make a welcome addition.

Related Reviews
Princess Peepers
Randy Kazandy, Where are your glasses?
The Patch
Amblyopia - Your Child Could Be Going Blind without you knowing it
45 Lazy Eye Exercises Book
Eye Patch Kids DVD

Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Best Friends

Belle received an American Girl doll for Christmas from her Grandma. Though there is an AG Doll who wears glasses (Molly), Belle wanted a doll with hair and eyes that looked like her. She picked out Elizabeth, one of the historical dolls. But, she didn't have glasses.

The good news is that American Girl sells glasses as an accessory for any of the dolls for only $8. But, when it came time for ordering for Christmas very few of the glasses styles were in stock. Grandma picked up the basic round metal framed ones, but we knew she really would prefer the pretty purple (lilac) ones (similar to her own pinkish/purple frames). Of course, the lilac eyeglasses were backordered til late January 2010. Thankfully, with help from one of Santa's elves over at Little Four Eyes blog a pair of the purple AG eyeglasses were procured from one of the AG satellite stores. Thank you Ann Z. you helped make magic this Christmas!

My little girl has made a new best friend.

Related Post:
Glasses and Patches for her Dolls

PS. The dress she is wearing is Little Adventures Deluxe Snow White Dress with the matching Snow White Doll Dress

Fun with Ficklets

Belle has been loving her flower and star ficklets -her glasses "bling" she and I like to call it. Really, the concept is so cool. At last night's holiday gathering several people asked her if she got new glasses. She said, "no, I just got new crowns". She was referring, of course, to a pair of the new Ficklets that she received from Santa.

And so, when on Christmas morning she unwrapped this tiny gift - it was very true... good things come in small packages. Upon opening she remarked,
"Santa must have seen that I wore glasses when he visited my school."

Belle received 3 pair of Ficklets under the tree:
Ballet Slippers, Princess Crowns, and Strawberries

Thanks Santa and Ficklets!

Related links:
Ficklets - Bling those glasses!
10 Great Gifts & Stocking Stuffers for Kids with Amblyopia or Glasses

For more info:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chipmunks & Chipettes wearing glasses as role models!

My daughter is infatuated with The Chipmunks. She has a little plush Alvin that goes places with her, like the eye doctor.
She loves that movie and so when she started seeing previews for the sequel aka The Squeakquel.. and it included the girl chipmunks and one wore glasses.

You can guess where we went on opening day? Which happened to be the day before Christmas and we had 2 feet of snow on the ground...

I expected her favorite Chipette to be Jeanette, the one with the purple glasses. Jeanette is the "brainy" one who is paired with Simon. She's also a bit clumsy. In the movie, Brittany was "the pretty one" and her sisters Jeanette and Eleanor were cast back quite a bit. I figured because of the glasses connection she would be the one my daughter connected with but she has stated that her favorite is Brittany. Of course of the boys - her favorite is Alvin and she says she likes them "because they are the same size". Kids are funny like that.

Still, I am really liking that The Chipettes are back. I remember these characters from my own childhood and actually admit that I owned a chipmunks Christmas record. I'm showing my age. Jeanette may not be my daughter's favorite but I happen to think she is pretty cool and Simon is more my type than Alvin, anyday!
PS. Happy Meal toys at McDonalds and you can just buy them separate if you don't want to get the kids meals. Also Ty has released a Simon plush beanie baby but so far the only Chipette is Brittany and no sign of Jeanette. Likewise, Build-A-Bear has Alvin (full size) but the small size ones they offer are just Simon, Theodore, and Brittany. Too bad no Jeanette or Eleanor!
A few products to check out:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

An Eye Patch Ornament on her Pink Tree

We received a lovely Christmas card from Anissa's fun patches. Included in the card was one of Anissa's Fun Patches with a note that said if we weren't patching any longer to use it as an ornament. Well, not that we are done with patching - but Belle loved the idea of having an eye patch ornament. So, we hung it up on her pretty pink tree and when the holidays are done we can either pack it away with the ornaments for next year, or take the yarn loop out and use it as a patch.

Read our review of Anissa's Fun patches here

Eyeglasses and The Big Snow

Here at the Jersey Shore we got hit with a pretty big blizzard bringing 2 feet of snow in a days time. This is unheard of here, and the most snow we've gotten in the 5 years we've lived here. I understand the last big snowfall of this magnitude was back in 1996.

My kids couldn't wait to go out in the snow and make snowmen and play. Thankfully, their father was a great sport and was put in charge of Snowman building with the kids.

I just want to share this fun picture of my daughter, she was so bundled up - all you can see are her glasses. Her hat kept coming down over her face and she was complaining she couldn't see but I wanted to keep her all warm and covered up. Then when she came inside she was extremely miffed that her glasses got all steamed up. Still, that didn't stop her from going outside first thing in the morning on day 2 of the snow!

As you can see in the picture - her big brother and daddy also wear glasses but my daughter is the only one in the family who is farsighted and has Amblyopia - the rest of us are nearsighted.

More snow pictures and a video are posted here and here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

10 Great Gifts & Stocking Stuffers for Kids with Amblyopia or Glasses

Looking for quick and easy stocking stuffers for kids with amblyopia or who wear glasses?

Here are some fun ideas

1. Ficklets - fun and inexpensive glasses charms for kids to accessorize and bling up their eyeglasses. Read about our ficklets experience here

2. New eye patches - wearing the same patches day after day gets old quick. You could try out a new patch, or a new color/style of your favorite. [I highly recommend Framehuggers!]

3. A fun new eyeglass retainer strap like this Croakies Eyeglass Strap/Retainer - a fun new eyeglass retainer in fashionable prints or a Beaded Eyeglass LensGems holder.

4. New Eyeglass case - I got my daughter this Eyeglass Case Purse

5. A doll or bear wearing glasses or patches. My daughter has a Build-A-Bear that wears glasses, and it also wears a patch from Pumpkin Patch Eyeworks. The Patching Pal program from Framehuggers is a really nice gift-worthy bear. Or if your child has an American Girl or other 18" doll, you could buy some eyeglasses for the doll to wear.

6. Eyeglasses Charm Pendant for a necklace or charm bracelet. Sterling Silver or Gold Plated are both under $20!

7. An Eyeglass Stand such as this Disney Mickey Mouse Eyeglass Holder or Eyebods Eyeglass Stand what a fun way to store glasses when not wearing them, this would look adorable on a nightstand.

8. Eyewhere the eyeglass locator - We have this for my son's glasses, he loses them a lot! Read about our experience with this product here.

9. Any of the excellent kids books about wearing glasses or patches. I highly recommend The Eye Patch Kids DVD

10. A fun T-shirt with a slogan like "Cool Kids Wear Glasses" , "I'm a patching princess", etc. You can find these and more at the Bjort & Company store (the makers of The Eye Patch Kids DVD Eye Patch Kids DVD)

I'd love to hear what other fun ideas you have.

Monday, November 30, 2009

On School Pictures and Glasses

In late October my kids both had their school pictures taken (different days, same week). They attend different schools with my son is in the public schools and my daughter goes to a private preschool here locally.

Like most school pictures - my son's are usually hit or miss. We have gotten some good ones and some bad ones.

This years are not so great. One issue that I have with his school pictures (aside from the fact that he looks tired/sad/sick?) is that they have a lot of shadows all over the place and a big distracting flash on his eye glasses. I went back and looked at the last 2 years where he also wore glasses and none of them had this (or if it did, they removed it). The school district switched from Lifetouch to Lors photography and I wish they hadn't. I was going to do the re-takes but that week my son had a bad chapped lip which wasn't something that I wanted to commemorate. So, I am stuck with these. They wouldn't take them back for a refund because there was a "photgraph error" according to them, a flashed out eye is OK.
So, you may remember the photo dilemma daughter had told me that they took her picture with her glasses off. This angered me because as I understood it the photographers are just supposed to take the picture and not "mess" with the way the child looks. She later told me that they took her picture 2 times - one with them off and one with them on. So, it was a big mystery in how her pictures would come out.

Well, I am happy to report that her glasses are indeed on her face. I am very happy that, unlike my son's picture, there is no glare or reflection of the flash on her glasses. Her pictures are adorable, cute and everything you would expect from a 4 year old.
But, something seemed a bit funny with them when I looked at the larger size ones and not the wallet....

I think they photoshopped her glasses on. To me the placement seems way up her nose almost into her eyes (now - this also could be because this was the day she got her new glasses and so I could be more used to the new frames) But they don't "sit right" with me. I also notice something 'funny' with her right nostril.
Maybe I'm just being picky...

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Study shows school is tough for Amblyopia Kids

I got a google alert for this article that really struck home for me. Kids with Amblyopia and eye patches really do have it rough at school. Dr. Ann Weber completed her PhD with a study about how eye patches impact a child's self esteem and fine motor skills. The findings included negative social acceptance, lower self esteem, incidences of bullying, as well as academic and developmental challenges completing school "tasks".

Study looks at the perception of patching

Eye patch makes school tough

The reality of this makes me quite sad for kids like my daughter who have Amblyopia and need to wear an eye patch. This year we made the decision to patch outside of school hours (my daughter goes to a 4 hour Pre-K program). Last year she patched at school and it was tough. I hope that by the time she goes to school full-day that we will have left our patch days behind us.

Amblyopia article in Health Today magazine

An article on Amblyopia was published in Health Today (phillipines) version about a little girl Keirra's diagnosis and "journey" with Amblyopia.

I thank the author, Rowena, for sharing her daughter's story which stresses the importance of getting your young child's vision checked. Her daughter had an earlier condition (esotropia) but it wasn't until she was bitten in the eyelid by a bug that the pediatric ophthalmologist detected the development of Amblyopia. That bug bite just might well have saved precious Keirra's vision!

From Animetric's World blog:
Coping with a lazy eye -- my little girl's story in Health Today Magazine

Full article:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ficklets - Bling those glasses!

Here's a really fun, simple, and inexpensive way for kids to accessorize their glasses and add a little bit of "bling". Wearing glasses just became even more fun!

Meet Ficklets!

Ficklets are "Eyewear charm huggers" that can be added to glasses. You know those "charms" that kids plug into the holes in their crocs? It is sort of like that.... but for eye glasses. The Ficklet charms attach via a patented system that consists of those tiny little rubberbands so they can be easily removed. Ficklets were created by a mom, of course. Not just any mom, Ros - a mom of a special needs glasses wearing girl! ...Ros, you rock!
Ros sent my daughter some ficklets as a gift when she got her new glasses. My daughter's 'old' glasses had built on "bling" with glittery bows on the temples. Her new glasses, while a gorgeous shade of pink are a more 'classic' style. And now, they have Ficklets. We have a pair of the pink glitter stars and also pink glitter hearts. Girly and even Girlier :)

With some of the patches my daughter uses, we don't even have to remove the ficklet. For some patch styles - it is easier to remove the ficklet and either leave it off on that side or put it on after the eye patch is on. In the photo she is wearing an eye patch from Perfect Patch.

How fun is this?
Ficklets come in just about every shape, color, theme - including sports, animals, and even holidays. They can be mixed, matched, doubled up and added to the temple or even the nose piece of glasses. Visit the Ficklets website for more info and to place an order - they are just $6 a pair. ... My daughter is eyeing the ballet slippers ones next.

For more info:

Not Another Head Injury - Amblyopia...ouch!

Ooops, she did it again.

You know, for years I always thought that it was due to my daughter inheriting my "gracefulness" because she fell frequently. But, once she was diagnosed with Amblyopia and I learned more about it - I realize it is all connected. For the most part she does an awesome job with what she is dealing with - seriously poor depth perception. But, when she falls (or runs into walls) it is a doozie.

Today, she fell while playing a tag type of game with her brother. Kersplat, down she went right on the hard kitchen floor. I heard the scream from the next room.

So, she tells me: "I didn't turn quick enough". She was running and instead of turning she ran directly into the oven and then somehow landed on the floor. She hit her forehead, her chin/cheek and her arm (hand).

I hate seeing my kid get hurt all the time. I know kids get hurt, kids fall, accidents happen. It just seems that with Belle she has a big bruise on her head more than she doesn't.

Related Links:
More Falls while Patching
She ran into a wall
On Head Protection

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Amblyopia on Ice

I signed Belle up for a Hockey Clinic here for Special Needs children. Initially I was hoping to sign up both of my children. But my autistic son has announced he is not interested in sports other than Bowling - so I'm not pushing it for him. Belle, on the other hand, really wanted to learn how to ice skate and this seemed like the perfect way. I asked if she would be able to attend the special needs clinic or if I should put her into their "learn to skate" program and was told we could do either but that because of her visual issues the Special Needs program would probably be a good place for her to start with lots of volunteers and helpers and she could go at her own pace.

I was concerned on how she'd do on the ice because she lacks depth perception and even off the ice she falls a lot. I was reassured however, that she'd be in a full protective gear and that there'd be tons of volunteers including an Occupational Therapist on the ice.

First she got suited up in skates, pads, and a helmet with a face cage. Even with the face cage I was nervous about her eyeglasses!

Once she was suited up, they took her for a ride on the ice in a chair. I could hear her giggling from where I was viewing on the upper level. This was a good start!

Then, they had her push the chair and use it for some stability.

Next step, she used a "walker" and was definitely getting the hang of it. She fell down a few times, but got right back up again. I cringed every time I saw her fall but it didn't seem to phase her one bit.

Then.. she was off!

They gave a child of mine a hockey stick and she got to score!

For info about the Brick Challenger Hockey Clinic visit the Brick Hockey Club website.