Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Melody's Amblyopia Journey

With thanks to Sadia for sharing her daughter's Amblyopia journey with us.

Melody, who is now three, was diagnosed with amblyopia when she was six months old.

She looked cross-eyed because her right eye was doing all the work, and her left was just hanging out, being "lazy". The treatment was a simple one, one that many of us on the amblyopia journey know well. For a couple of hours a day, we covered up her dominant eye, forcing her left eye to take on the burden of sight.

Had we not done this, Melody might have never developed full vision in that eye. She didn't actually mind the patches too much, although her twin sister Jessica tried to pull them off her for about a week until she got used to them. I know that some kids have to patch for years, but we got off lucky after just a few months. In fact, the doctor declared Melody amblyopia-free at our third appointment. When we were patching, she would wear a patch for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, during her most active play time, when she was looking around the most. I haven't seen any sign of the amblyopia returning since we quit patching, although I do keep an eye out for it.

I did quite a bit of research to find the right patching solution for an active baby, and settled on Ortopad patches based on the only parental review of patches I could find at the time. (Funnily enough, the other dad's daughter is also named Melody!) The Ortopad patches are adhesive, light-blocking patches that come in a junior size for babies, medium for toddlers, and regular for big kids. They're specifically designed for amblyopia, and even come in fun patterns. Each box comes with a bunch of stickers for older kids to decorate their patches with. Here's Melody rocking a pink camo look.

I'm so glad that our pediatrician gave us the referral to the pediatric optometrist as early as he did. The paranoid Mom in me had Jessica checked out too, but she didn't have any vision or eye problems. Melody sometimes looks a little cross-eyed still, but the doctor assures us that it's normal in young children, because the width of their noses compared to their faces means that when they're looking at things up close, their eyes aren't aligned with each other.

When I found out that Melly would have to wear a patch, I was heartbroken, but it turned out not to be all that big of a deal. In fact, I liked having an extra accessorizing opportunity every day.

Although it seems that our amblyopia journey is over, Melody's adventures with her sister continue at Double the Fun and Twice the Confusion, where this story is cross-posted.

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