Monday, March 9, 2009

How it began

This post was originally posted on my blog The Bon Bon Gazette:

Princesses don't wear glasses
Bad vision and a host of eye issues haunt my family. I have had glasses since about the 3rd grade. I do have contacts but my eyes are very sensitive and I prefer glasses. My husband, on the other hand - has had glasses since he was a little kid (7ish) and prefers contacts. Alex got glasses (and lost them, broke them, etc) when he was seven. With him we knew he needed them because he was squinting a lot. At first we weren't quite sure if it was a sensory thing (the squinting) but it soon became quite clear he needed them.

So, when the pink slip came home from my daughter's preschool the other day - I wasn't totally surprised about it. She failed the vision test, of abominable proportions. That doesn't mean it made it any easier to stomach. Being the girly girly girly girl that Belle is I could see right away that this was going to be a slippery slope. Although, at one point many months ago she asked for "clear glasses" like everyone else had in the family instead of her gazillion sunglasses. So, I thought - this could be OK. Still I cried. My little girl would need glasses. We'd have to put glasses on her pretty little perfect face over those beautiful blue eyes. And then I cried some more, because I wondered how long she'd been struggling with her vision and we didn't know. The doctors didn't even pick it up at her well visit - and our pedi is married to an eye doctor even! Still, a part of me wanted to doubt the school eye test result and hoped it was incorrect (even though I knew it probably wasn't).

I made an emergency appointment for the eye doctor and began to prep Belle that she'd probably need glasses. My friends who have little girls with glasses sent me all their smiliest and most fabulous pictures of their daughters wearing glasses, even some in princess dresses. As my luck would have it, another little girl in Belle's class came in with eye glasses to school. This would make 3 or 4 kids now in the class with glasses but before that the only little girl who had glasses is "not her favorite" - she is a little girl who spits, and Belle doesn't care for her (she also called Belle names at one point). And off we went to the eye doctor on Friday - many tears ensued before we got there. She was very afraid but once we got there she calmed down and was perfectly behaved without one tear.

And then they did the testing. The results from the school were confirmed. But, it was far worse than I imagined or prepped her for. Not only does my little girl need glasses, she has anisometropic amblyopia. What this means is that she has one eye with good vision and the other is in the 20/200 range. She isn't using the bad eye at all, but she does track with it which is a good sign. I saw for myself that she struggled even to make out the largest picture on the picture chart (a hand) using her left eye while the right eye was fine and down to the 20/40 range. She is going to require the use of glasses, eyepatches and drops - maybe even surgery. They are going to be doing more testing on March 17th and planning out the course of action. Before we go I need to use Atropine drops in her eyes to 'paralyze' or freeze her eye muscles. I feel so bad for Belle right now but am trying to keep on a happy face.

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