Monday, September 27, 2010

A Parent trying to prevent Amblyopia

I was recently invited to post a blog through my Facebook connection with this site, I am not a big blogger but thought given this opportunity I might say something that will help another parent that just found out that their baby, or toddler has Amblyopia. I will start this blog by telling a little background on why I invest time in reading this site.

I am a mother of two, my second born (a son Ben) 15 months, was at a regular 6 week Pediatrician checkup, when the pediatrician informed me that my brand new baby boys eyes did not reflect light properly and that he had never seen anything like it in his career, he immediately referred me to a Pediatric Ophthalmologist. Needless to say I was one scared mom, he couldn't even tell me if my son was blind, I went 2 weeks before he had his first appt. and reminded myself during this time that I had a beautiful baby boy and whatever this was we would get through it with the strength of God.

His first appt. 8 weeks into his little life I was informed that my son had bi-lateral cataracts, the left eye is the worse with a 2.5mm cataract. The other cataract is so small it has been dismissed in future appts.
So the result of that appt. was patching my little man daily for an hour. This process did not go well normally he would scream himself to sleep resulting in no time to make his weak eye work, very frustrating for a new mom who is trying to prevent Amblyopia.

His next appt. 6 weeks later resulted in a dilating drop that I had to put in the bad eye to allow more light to transfer to that brain preventing the brain from shutting off that eye, this method worked much better then the patching in the beginning and patching was dropped.

The next appt. was a great report that his eye looked great and that we could very well caught this early enough that we could prevent a severe case of Amblyopia. This was great news! I was told in this appt. that the drops could be stopped ....if I only knew what the next appt. would bring.

So here comes another appt. the doctor looked at my sons eye and immediately gave me an odd look, so within 3 months my sons eye went from doing great lets limit the things we are doing to....OMG we need to patch immediately, once a day for 1 hour. Drops everyday in the bad eye. Your next appt. will be a fitting for a pair of glasses. Needless to say I felt like I failed my son, I wish I would have just continued the drops and patching everyday despite what the doctor said. What the doctor didn't know is that I was about to change specialist so that I didn't have a 4 1/2 hour trip and hotel reservation every time my son needed to see the specialist. Although I feel we dropped his preventatives way to soon, this was still a good doctor and I was sad to have to leave. But I knew being closer to home would be a good call!

So let the patching and drops begin....patching like in the beginning was proving to be painful for him and I both. Then one morning before taking him out of his crib I had an aha moment....I took out the first patch and placed it on my right eye (same eye used for his patching) and then grabbed his favorite stuffed doggy animal in his crib and put a patch on his eye. I pulled out a patch for my son and put it on with no problem and ever since then we have had pain free patching!!

So that brings us to today, I was referred by my prior physician the day I told him I needed to be closer to home, and today I was honored to go to the Kellogg eye center in Michigan, the best decision I have made. The whole facility was welcoming, the receptionist walked us all the way to the office door for our appt., my son was given the best care thus far for his eyes, the drop will be administered twice a week and patching will increase to 2 hours daily. His next visit is in 2 months and this appt. will be all about the determination of his prescription and choosing his first pair of glasses. When we left the facility and arrived at my vehicle I did determine that my little man had lost his blanket, since it was such a long appt. I told my mom to stay with my son in the vehicle so that he could get a drink and snack as I returned to the building to find his blanket, (ahh as he calls it) I then turned to find a hospital volunteer on a bicycle with my sons ahhh.....this hospital cares about its little patients!!!!

I will be strong for my little man(I will not treat him any different), as I told my 4 yr. old daughter when she asked for an explanation the other day to why her brother would wear glasses and she would not, I told her that God gave you eyes like your daddies so you and daddy do not have to wear glasses to see, and God gave Ben eyes like mommy so we have to wear glasses to see. I was happy when she told me that made since to her!!

I hope this blog finds all the mommies preventing or caring for children with Amblyopia well. I am thankful that I was able to tell my story and hope that it brings inspiration and support to other parents.


  1. My story is similar to yours. I noticed my 2 month old daughter's eye lid drooped and at 4 months the pediatrician referred us to a Ophthalmologist. (after a bit of pestering) The Ophthalmologist diagnosed her with ptosis of her left eye and did a complete exam. When her eye was dilated he found a cataract. Luckily the pediatric specialist was in town that day and we were sent immediately down stairs for a appointment with him. We started patching a 4 months of age. We have had improvements and set backs. We tried atropine drops which caused her eye to remain dilated for 10 days. Due to her sensitivity to the drops we have discontinued those. She will be 3 in just a few months and we are now patching 4 hrs. 5 days a week and she has glasses for an astigmatism. She has very much improved but we have a way to go.

  2. Patching the good eye or by instilling topical atropine are some of the ways to cure lazy eye.