Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Prevent Blindness America - Be A Voice for Vision!

I received an email from Prevent Blindness America and decided to share it with readers today to take action and become a voice for vision.

If you are not familiar with the organization, check out their website which has a wealth of information about children's vision, advocacy, education, as well as an Eye Patch Club and a Parents Forum for Amblyopia.

Here is how you can help...

Be A Voice for Vision!

Prevent Blindness America is working diligently to secure FY 2010 appropriations for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vision Health Initiative (VHI), the National Institutes of Health and the National Eye Institute.

Our FY 2010 request was for $4.5 million for the VHI. The recently passed House Appropriations Committee's allocation falls short of this request. We need your voice NOW. Please contact your Senators and request the full $4.5 million for the Vision Health Initiative.

The $4.5 million in funding would sustain and expand efforts to address the growing public health threat of preventable vision loss among older Americans, low-income, and under-served populations. It would also increase funding to support eye disease surveillance and evaluation systems, to ensure our nation has much-needed epidemiological data regarding overall burden and high-risk populations, so we can formulate and evaluate strategies to prevent and reduce the economic and social costs associated with vision loss and eye diseases.

You can be a voice for vision. The Senate Appropriations Committee will begin working on FY 2010 appropriations this month. Click here to send a letter to your Senators to support funding for sight-saving programs.

Please Take Action!

Thank you for your efforts to preserve sight and prevent vision loss!

Jennifer Pennock
Director, Government Affairs
Prevent Blindness America

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sleeping Beauty wears glasses

I ran out to the grocery store tonight and my husband sent me this picture of Belle sound asleep on the sofa with her baby sleeping beauty doll, of course my little sleeping beauty still had her glasses on.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Amblyopia, 3D Movies, and Ice Age 3

It seems all the latest kids movies are coming out in 3D. Kids with vision issues like Amblyopia, Strabismus, etc cannot process the 3D images.

Today we went to see Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs which the kids had been begging to see. It was showing in 3D in the theatre we went to which meant the kids got to wear the funny 3D glasses (over their own glasses). Since the glasses are so big, I actually used one of Alex's extra eyeglass retainers to keep the glasses on her head. Hey, whatever works!

I was also really happy because during the previews I was quizzing her a little bit about what she saw and so during one of the 3D effects I asked her and she said "Was that meatball flying at my head?".

This is huge, because it means that even with her Amblyopia, Belle can see some 3D effects.

Here are the kids with their 3D glasses over the top of their prescription eyeglasses.

As you can see, she likes popcorn.

Also, on the topic of Ice Age 3 - there is a character with an Eye Patch. Its actually a leaf, but he wears it like a patch. Buck, the weasel, is missing an eye due to a battle with a very mean Dinosaur - he is a "pirate" type of character and very fun

Related Articles:
3D movies and Amblyopia

Are 3-D movies bad for your eyes?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

How to Make a No-Sew Eye Patch for Amblyopia

Paula over at CutieFruity posted How to Make An Eye Patch for Amblyopia or Strabismus

The instructions look very easy to follow, and include pictures (Thank you!).
The patches are made of craft foam and this is a NO SEW patch.

Check it out!

Related post:
Katie's Amblyopia Story

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The importance of vision screening: Amblyopia

I wrote an article at entitled:

Amblyopia: Your Child Could Be Going Blind without you knowing it.

I urge all parents of young children.

  • If you have a young child, get their eyes checked and protect your child's eyesight.
  • Vision loss due to Amblyopia can be halted and reversed.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Eye Patch Comments and Reactions

Scenario 1: A little girl who has played with Belle a few times but it has always been in situations where she wasn't patching (like at the beach, boardwalk, park, etc) sees Belle with a patch on her eye for the first time. Belle runs up to her to play and her friend announces (very loudly).

Why are you wearing that sock?

Now, I really wanted to laugh because the way that she said it was extremely blunt and I never in a million years would have compared the eye patch to a sock.. especially not that one (purple and orange hearts!). Belle very matter of factly told her.

It isn't a sock! This is my eye patch because I had a little problem seeing with left eye. So I need to wear a patch on this eye and it will make my left eye stronger. Because this is my lazy eye (pointing).

Her friend looked at it, shrugged.. said "Ok". And then the 2 of them played for an hour with no further mention.

I was seriously impressed with how she handled the situation. Because, if this had been a few months ago I think she would have burst off in tears, tried to hide. I told her afterwards that I was so proud of her for explaining her eye patch to her friend... and she told me that she was "a little sad that she called my patch a sock" and that she thought that was "crazy and ridiculous". I just laughed and said - "yeah, that was pretty silly.. wasn't it?". I'm so proud of how she handled what could have been a really tough situation.

Scenario 2:
Not more than an hour later... we are in the grocery store. I have said before how I often wish some people would MYOB with the comments and questions that are phrased in such a way like "What's wrong with her eye?"

I do not mind questions, but please keep things positive.

So.. we are in the grocery store minding our own business and a guy who works there comes up to me while she is riding in the cart wearing her patch. He says

"Oh, did she have an operation?".

She goes instantly from happy kid to trying to hide her face behind her hair and under her hands. I explain to him that she has a lazy eye and it is not as a result of an operation. He tells me - that he had a lazy eye when he was a kid... had 2 operations for it and how it mostly got fixed but that he still has problems when he gets drunk. I smile, nod and try to get back to my grocery shopping. My kid is telling me that "we Need to go home now!" and then proceeds to ask me "Mom, do I need to have an operation?".

The shopping clerk apologizes profusely - I give him credit where credit is due there. I think he meant well, wanted to connect on some level - but... just But!

We checked out and as soon as I got her to the car I gave her a great big hug and tried to choke back the tears. It is a lot to go through for a child and she really is doing such a good job.

Enter to win an Optelec FarView (vision assistive device)

Cool contest that I learned about on Twitter from @optelec

Enter to win a limited edition Red, White & Blue FarView from Optelec &

For details & to enter visit:

About the Optelec FarView:

Give the Gift of Sight by Donating Your Old Glasses

We had a shoebox full of Alex's broken glasses. Two out of the 4 pair had broken frames. The other 2 pair had pretty minor damage. Since his prescription changed, I didn't see the point of holding onto them and getting them repaired.

Today we donated them.

Give the Gift of Sight has a receptacle set up outside of our vision center where they collect old glasses.

how you can help Give the Gift of Sight:
Drop off your old eyeglasses or sunglasses at any LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical or Sunglass Hut store, or Lions club to help someone in a developing country experience a brighter future. We will clean, repair and classify your glasses by prescription, then personally deliver them on Give the Gift of Sight international optical missions.

Glasses for Brother too.. . and a dilemma

Yesterday my son went to the eye doctor for his annual visit. My son has autism, which makes trips to the eye doctor more challenging for him than for my daughter. It was time for his annual visit and I'd noticed him squinting. I suspected he needed a stronger prescription - and he did.

When we pulled into the parking lot, Alex got pretty anxious about it. Belle was really cute because she told him that he didn't need to be afraid or upset because "going to the eye doctor is a lot of fun". I am so happy she enjoys going to the eye doctor, it makes things so much easier.

Now, my son goes to a different Pediatric Ophthalmologist than my daughter does. His doctor is particularly known for his skills with autistic children. Still, I am considering switching to take him to the same P.O. we take Belle to. I just feel more comfortable with Belle's doctor and feel even the kids are more comfortable and relaxed with him. I feel like he really cares vs Alex's doctor sometimes I feel put off by. Still, I know that supposedly he is "The Best" eye doctor in the area for autistic children. I am torn. Belle's doctor is obviously very respectable - it is just the whole Autism issue.

At Alex's doctor, we always have a long wait when we go there and that is difficult for Alex. To make it worse - they used to have their own children's waiting room but they renovated and now they only have a small area for the kids to play in that is OPEN to the optical shoppe. The folks in the optical shoppe are friendly and all (one even has a connection to Autism with a nephew or something) - I remarked to them that I really wish they hadn't eliminated the child waiting room (small chit chat with the optician because otherwise I'd explode) and the optician agreed with me. What kind of P.O. downsizes the child waiting area? The wide screen TV is on the opposite wall where your back would be to - so if you have two children they need to be both in the baby play corner or both watching the TV unless you want to leave one unsupervised. It was not well thought out at all!

Alex had to get the dilation drops in his eyes which he didn't particularly like. The assistant who put them in his eyes announced "No one likes this, let me just put them in quickly". Of course that made my son more upset. I'm shaking my head at this.... Why would someone say that? Well, the funny thing is that Belle responded by announcing, "I like eye drops because they tickle".

So, after the assistant making the stupid eye drop comment we go in for Alex's exam. The doctor sees that Belle has a patch on her eye and proceeds to start to ask me about Belle. This wasn't Belle's visit...This was Alex's visit! He asked me if she saw one of the other doctors in the practice (since he knew he didn't see her, obviously). I didn't think it really was any of his business who she saw.

So, we got a new prescription for Alex and then left and got him new glasses. I don't use the optical shoppe on site because they charge quite a bit more for the same brand frames you can get elsewhere and they also don't make them there so the glasses takes 1-2 weeks. I took him to the Pearl Vision center where Belle got her glasses from and he was able to pick out glasses last night at 7pm and we picked them up this afternoon. It turned out to be a good thing since he left his current glasses at camp (came home wearing his prescription sunglasses). Lovely timing - and typical Alex. How many glasses we will lose or break this year??

So, I keep thinking... More and more I think I need to switch my son's P.O.

Would you?

Related Post:
Autism and the Annual Eye Doctor Visit