Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Monday, October 11, 2010

Patching Progress - Finally we have some!

Saturday morning came around and I really wanted to sleep in but we had a 10am appointment to get to for Belle's eyes. It was her 6 week re-check, and I was nervous about it. At the last re-check since she started patching agressively again (6-8 hours a day) she hadn't made any progress. And, having just returned from vacation where my daughter diligently patched every day despite Disney, I really really hoped she would get good news. She woke up by 7am and was excited to go to her appointment. If there is one thing I'm very thankful, she loves her eye doctor and gets excited about going to her appointments because he is so nice.  So off we went.  She got lots of compliments from the office staff as usual about her outfit and coordinating patch, how pretty she looks in her glasses, and how much of a big girl she is and well behaved.  It makes me feel good to hear these things about her, because well - she makes me so proud. 

During the initial testing of her eye while she still had her patch on I could tell things were going well. She was reading things that she'd struggled with the last time around.  I could stop holding my breath and start to breathe a bit easier. After they unpatched her and tested both eyes and her good eye, the appointment continued on a very positive note.  We were all smiles today.

The patching is working. 

And because its working, we aren't changing what we are doing or scaling back at all.  I know Belle was hoping that the Doctor would tell her she could patch for less hours each day, but he didn't. He told her how great of a job she is doing and how she needs to keep on doing just that.  So we continue at 6 to 8 hours a day (and he said closer to 6 is fine)  and we go back in 6 weeks.

So we keep patching away, but we are filled with Hope! Because we have seen progress.

Transitions lenses - love them!

So off we went on vacation but before we went I made the decision that it was time for transition lenses.  Prior to this my daughter has used prescription sunglasses (that we saved $$ with by ordering through Zenni Optical). Well, last year on vacation it became tiresome making multiple changes throughout the day between her sunglasses and her regular glasses. Also, if she was patching - the cloth patches she used didn't work with her sunglasses that didn't have a nosepiece.  So, before we went through that all over again I ordered her some transition lenses that would change automatically between clear and tinted.   She used adhesives the whole vacation anways, but if she wanted the cloth patches would have worked well too.

Belle loves her new Transitions glasses and they made it so she just wore one pair throughout the day and it was all good.  No swapping between frames everytime we went indoors and then out again into the bright sun.  The photochromic lenses are so worth it - and you can still order them online through places like Zenni Optical and save on the cost if you have your prescription and know your eyeglass sizing well. I did! While I was at it I also ordered my son a pair and got a pair for myself - my only complaint is that they aren't good for driving because they don't change in the car. 

With regard to patching on vacation, well - we did it.  Every day.  No exceptions.  We put it on and kept it on. If we were swimming, we'd take it off her and then afterwards just put it back on.  Surprisingly she got very few inappropriate comments from strangers (usually having to do with pirates) - but they did exist.  The hardest part for me was seeing other kids staring at her. My daughter must be so used to this that she totally ignores and doesn't even react to it anymore. There was only one time when she was being a bit shy and her hat brim was low and covering her face and a photographer tried to get her to lift it and she wasn't compliant, we just told them to take the picture as is - it wasn't worth the upset.  So most of our vacation pictures my daughter is patching in them, and thats OK. We'll look back someday and remember the time she wore an eyepatch to make her eye stronger. It is what it is.

For vacation, she also agreed that she would use an eyeglass retainer which most of the time was hidden under her hair. I got a pink one and also a purple daisy print - they are the Croakies brand in "kids" size. Which actually were just a tad bit too big did the job of keeping her glasses on her head (even on rides).  

Halloween Tips for Kids with Low Vision, Amblyopia, Glasses

Halloween Tips for Kids with Low Vision

Halloween is a fun time of year for children and parents alike. But, this holiday can also be very dangerous and scary for those with visual impairments. Read on to find tips for an enjoyable and safe Halloween including tips for trick or treating and costumes.

Costume Tips

When searching for a costume for your visually impaired child consider the following:

1. Avoid any costume with a mask, hat, helmet, hood or wig that blocks or limits forward or peripheral vision. Instead opt for face painting or make-up.

2. Children should wear familiar, comfortable and safe footwear in the right size.

3. Pirate costumes are popular but do not wear an eye patch over your eye (unless it is required for Lazy Eye). Wearing an eye patch occludes the vision in that eye resulting in reduced vision and poor depth perception. If your pirate must have an eye patch accessory wear it up on the forehead or draw one on with make-up

4. Children who wear prescription glasses should still wear their glasses even if the glasses don't "fit" with the costume theme. Corrected vision is more important.

5. Do not borrow someone's prescription glasses in order to complete a costume. If you must wear glasses in order to "make" the costume, use cheap frames with the lenses popped out or glasses with clear plastic lenses.

6. Do not wear sunglasses or dark glasses after daylight hours unless indoors in bright lighting.

7. Accessories like fake knives, swords, wands, canes or spears can poze a safety hazard to children's eyes.

Trick or Treating Tips

1. It is safer to attend a halloween party indoors, go to community organized events like "trunk or treats", or mall trick or treating events instead of neighborhood trick or treating.

2. Trick or treat during daylight if you must trick or treat - always with an adult and in a group if possible.

3. Bring a bright flashlight with you with fresh batteries.

4. Use reflective tape on costumes, flashing necklaces, or glow sticks (available from the dollar store) so that your child is visible to motorists.

5. As a parent, familiarize yourself with a "safe" trick or treating route in your neighborhood comprised only of houses you know. Walk the route ahead of time so that you are aware of any bumpy walkways, stairways, steps or hazards that may be difficult for your child to navigate. If possible, practice the route ahead of time with your child.

6. Be mindful that your child who may have low vision could be hyper-sensitive to scary decorations, eery music, smoke machines, and even jack-o-lanterns. Keep young children in a stroller, wagon, or hold them by the hand when walking up to the door. I was surprised to find that my daughter was so fearful of a neighbor's front porch decorated like a haunted house when she had gone past and up to the house many times previously. Skip these scary homes or visit them first before it gets dark. Since you are presumably only visiting homes that you know, you could call them ahead of time to turn on extra lighting or turn off the smoke machine when you are approaching.

7. Consider staying home with your low vision child and having them help hand out candy. Keep in mind that your child could be afraid of many of the larger children in scary costumes.

Happy Halloween!

this article was originally published by me at Bella Online Vision Issues site