Saturday, May 23, 2009

Jake's Amblyopia Journey

This "Amblyopia Adventure" has been submitted by Jake's mother.
Photo: Jake's 1st day patching!
My son Jake was diagnosed with Amblyopia in March of 2008 just before his 4th birthday. I had planned to get him in for his first routine eye exam when he turned 3 but I figured he had great eyesight so kept putting it off. About 2 months before I booked the appointment I noticed that he occasionally would cross his left eye. He would stop as soon as I said something to him and he seemed to just be having fun with it and didn’t do it very often. I should have realized then that there was a problem as both my mother and younger sister had eye surgery before their 3rd birthdays because of a crossed eye. They both had poor vision in both eyes though so even as small babies it was obvious that they couldn’t see. So I assumed that since Jake could do jigsaw puzzles from a young age quicker than the adults and would shout out the different street signs etc in the distance while I was driving that he didn’t have vision problems. Boy was I wrong.

Jake’s first eye appointment is still hard for me to think about. The Optometrist started with covering one eye and Jake passed with flying colours. I breathed a sigh of relief thinking, “I knew he was fine”. Obviously I had my doubts though or I wouldn’t have been so relieved. Of course it doesn’t end there. Next she covers his other eye and he can see the biggest picture fine but when she goes to the next line he just sits there. I could see him struggling to see and his eye started to cross and he tried to peek around the paddle she was holding on his good eye. My heart broke at that moment. It was painful to watch him struggling. I asked how could I not have noticed he couldn’t see out of one eye!? She said it’s because he sees perfectly out of his other eye. It didn’t make me feel any less guilty but it did explain it.

So began our Amblyopia journey. His first pair of glasses arrived on his 4th birthday. We started patch therapy a month later. We’ve been going for regular visits to the Optometrist for a year now. He is starting to see better out of his poor eye! He no longer says that he can’t see when he has his patch on and he even forgets that he has it on. We upped his patch time the last time we were in so now we’re doing 3 – 6 hours per day and I think it’s helping. He has his next appointment with the Optometrist on June 18th and I’m excited to see if he’s improved as much as I think he has. We’re also scheduled to see an Ophthalmologist at the Children’s Hospital in our city on July 23rd to make sure we’re doing all we can for him and to see if he’ll need surgery at all. We don’t think he will, as he doesn’t seem to be crossing it anymore but our Optometrist thought that he still was a bit when she covered his good eye.

I still feel guilty about not catching it sooner but I have HOPE now.

You can read more about Jake's journey with Amblyopia at his mom's blog: Random-Stuff.

3 comments:

  1. interesting, my daughter Maggie is very quick with jigsaw puzzles as well! i understand that guilty feeling, but the great thing is, this can be corrected very easily!

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  2. That is interesting that Maggie and Jake are both so quick with puzzles. We are amazed at Jake's progress over the last while so that helps with the guilt, knowing that he's seeing now out of that eye is an awesome feeling!

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  3. I love to hear stories like Jake - we have now been patching for 3 1/2 yrs! But unfortunately we dont seem to be getting anywhere - there is a slight improvement but not much.

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