Friday, December 17, 2010

Acupuncture for successful Amblyopia treament

Recently my google alerts exploded with proclamations of a new treatment for Amblyopia. The new treatment being not some miracle drug or new technology but rather ones of the oldest treatments around...  Acupuncture .  Recent studies have shown acupuncture could be very successful for treating Amblyopia, moreso than patching - in the "older child" population.

Read on to learn more about it (CNN): Needles trump patches in treating kids' eye problem

The whole idea of acupuncture intrigues me yet scares me at the same time. But, I am fascinated enough that I want to learn more about this - whether my daughter would be a candidate or not remains to be seen. I'm not going to run right out and sign her up for acupuncture - but I'm interested in learning more about why it is that it works.

Dr. Nate at Bright Eyes, also blogged recently on the topic and gave his take on it:
Acupuncture for Amblyopia (Lazy eye)?

Would you consider acupuncture for your child's amblyopia?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Plea for updated picture eyechart

Last week I was talking to a friend of mine whose little girl that also wears glasses & patches. It has been  such a blessing for Belle and I to have someone local to go through this together with (but that's a whole new post).  So...  she and I were talking about our latest trips to the eye doctor for the girls and comparing notes. My friend shared with me that her daughter has a hard time with the picture eye chart which makes the appointment challenging. Oh Boy, could I relate to this!  Now, thankfully as she is a bit older, Belle now primarily uses the letter and directional charts. But on occasion when she has had to use the picture chart her responses to the pictures can be quite puzzling and a bit comical. In fact, the responses often don't indicate whether she can see or not - moreso that she has no idea what the picture is supposed to be.

In particular this picture from the children's eyechart sorely needs updating. 

Would your preschool or young child know what this is?

This is a phone.    
It seems so simple but most kids these days would get this wrong.

When was the last time you used a rotary phone? Has your child ever seen a rotary phone?   My daughter hadn't and I had to explain this picture to her.  It was funny because when she saw Toy Story 3 and the Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone character she made a comment that "it was the phone from the eyechart".

It is definitely time for the phone picture to get updated,  perhaps with something like this:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Eye Patch Review: Eye-Lids cloth patches

I first learned about Eye-Lids (kids eye patches) on Facebook at the recommendation of an Amblyopia Kids facebook fan.   When I received a few patches to try out - of course she fell in love with the Hello Kitty pattern right away. The patch style we have (shown in the photo) is meant to be worn with glasses that have a nosepiece. They do offer glasses for frames without nosepieces as well as "pirate style" patches.  

To give you an idea of size,  Belle is wearing the Eye-Lids medium and my her glasses have an eyesize of 45 (lens width) [style: Rayban 1018T].  The medium is suggested for ages 4-7 and it fits well.  Eye-Lids are available in a smaller size (suggested for ages under 3) as well as large (for 7-10 years of age).  If there's any question with size, be sure to contact the creator of Eye-Lids, Lisa Smith, she designed eye-lids and started selling them as a result of first hand experience - her daughter having to wear an eye patch.  I have found with this style of "under the glasses" patch the sizing is definitely a sweet spot.  Too small and they can peak around it - too big and it becomes cumbersome and covers up half of your child's face!!  The shape of Eye-Lids was made so it provides good coverage and therefore full occlusion while still being comfortable for a child to wear.  Eye-Lids are also made with batting in between two layers of fabric so even light colored fabrics cannot be see-through.  When ordering specify right or left eye - ours have a pattern fabric on the outside and solid flannel on the inside - it actually can be reversed. However in order for the pattern to be facing in the proper direction you will need to specify if you patch right or left :) We wouldn't want Hello Kitty to be upside down now, would we? (Well maybe my silly daughter might!)

When browing the Eye-Lids website, you'll see that they offer a wide variety of patterns ranging from plain to funky - appropriate for boys or girls. My daughter gave a thumbs up to the Hello Kitty pattern! Being made of cloth, they are re-usable and also washable. A benefit to cloth patches over adhesive is that you aren't tossing out patches in the trash every day.  My daughter likes the Eye-Lids patch, which means it passes her seal of approval and I'm confident she can't see through it which means I approve too! 

Price - $9.99 Canadian dollars/  Shipping $1.50

To order: 
Become a fan of Eye-Lids on facebook: 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Slow Cutter

 This has taken me a few weeks now to swallow, mull around inside my brain, feel sick to my stomach about, mull around some more - and finally sit down and put my thought into words.

I recently had the pleasure of my daughter's parent-teacher conference for Kindergarten. Kindergarten conferences at my school tend to be short and sweet. You sit down with the teacher who tells you how cute your kid is, and shows you their first period report card highlighting how great they are doing and minimizing the road bumps.  Being that I know the drill,  I went in with my list of things I wanted to discuss with her teacher.  It is not surprising that my concerns mostly dealt with how her vision challenges are impacting learning.  Recently I've noted more worksheets in her folder tagged "finish at home" and Belle letting me know that she didn't have enough time to get it done.  Also, her weekly workbook pages can take her a very long time to complete. As in 4 pages of work taking between 2-4 hours when talking to other parents with the same workbook and hearing how it takes their child well under an hour to do the same.  So, the 4 or 5 pages take what seems to be an eternity but  when they are finally completed.. the finished product is really well done and quite neat.  Over the past few months her writing has improved tenfold. Its gone from gigantic, backwards and often illegible to pretty darn good. Not too shabby for my little lefty!  Still, the time it takes to get that sparkly end product is outright painful.

Now, I know and recognize that all children are different.  After all, my son has autism - so I know all about different learners.  More and more I realize that even though Belle is not autistic, she is a "different" learner and her vision (although improving) does make a significant difference.

At my daughters conference I was greeted with the usual smiles and small talk (which went by all too quickly) and then tone turned to frowns and crumpled up faces.   It went something like this...

 Belle is really a smart cookie and I enjoy having her in my class. She is so excited to be at school and extremely cooperative.   (Smiles Smiles, that's my girl).  But... She's a slow cutter.

I blinked.  Excuse me?

Yes, she is a slow cutter.     And, she is too slow when working at centers and seatwork.  Other kids are up and enjoying free play or moving to the next center and she is still working.  

And so we spent the next 45 minutes discussing and rehashing and rehashing again about her vision. Her teacher seems to think that it is all really that my daughter is a perfectionist and that her vision has little to do with it all.  I know that it does.  I also acknowledge that she is a bit OCDish and a perfectionist.  I also know that she is hyperaware of the fact that she should stay within lines, write - cut - and color neatly.  She is also a lefty and has notable issues with 'crossing the midline'.  All of this coupled with her vision means she needs extra support (as well as time).

Telling her to hurry up and cut faster isn't the answer.

Low Vision Friendly Electronics- Great Gift Ideas!

Low Vision Friendly Electronics - Great Gifts!

Now, the hottest Electronic devices have become more low vision friendly with larger sizes and displays.

For example, the popular handheld gaming device - the Nintendo DSi released a larger model in spring 2010 called the DSi XL that has a screen 93% larger than the popular DS Lite model. The screen LCD screen is 4.3 inches (diagonally) when compared to the 3 inch screen of the DS Lite and DSi. The DSi XL can go on the internet, take photos, as well as play Nintendo DS game cartridges. Games are available in all genres with titles for children through adult. The DSi XL is priced under $200 making this an affordable handheld device.

Amazon was the first to come out with a low vision friendly book reader when they came out with the Kindle DX Wireless Reading Device with its 9.7" screen compared to the 6" of the popular Kindle reader. The Kindle also has the advantage of text enlargement (increasing the output of the Font size for text) as well as text to speech, so it can read books, magazines, blogs out loud.  Those with low vision could benefit from adding clip-on light to their reader which are very affordable accessories around twenty dollars.

Apple's  iPad is the most exciting of all. The iPad measures in at 9.7" when compared to the iPod touch with its 3.5 inch display. The iPad is a do-it-all device (almost) that can browse the web, supports email, view photos, play games, play music and movies, and supports over a thousand apps available for download to the device. Accessibility options include spoken menus as well as a high contrast touch screen. The iPad starts at $499 for a base model and upwards to $829 for the top of the line device. When compared to the smaller iPad Touch (or iPhone) it offers powerful capability with a more user friendly output and display - especially for those with vision issues.

Selecting Safe Toys to Avoid Eye injuries

Selecting Safe Toys to Avoid Eye injuries

It is important when picking choosing toys for children to keep children's safety in mind. A trip to the ER because of an eye injury will not only ruin the holiday but it could also permanently affect a child's vision for the rest of their life.

I'm constantly reminded of the timeless classic movie, A Christmas Story and the famous line, "You'll shoot your eye out!. As a child, we were never allowed to have toy guns of any kind - even nerf type of toys. One reason was that my mother was certain that one of us would injure either ourselves or our brother or sister.. we would "shoot our eye out", in effect.

The reality is that toys that shoot, fly, or have projectiles account for many an eye injury in young children. When giving such a gift be certain that it will be used with adult supervision or consider a safer alternative.

Likewise, avoid toys that with points, sharp edges, and "fake" weapons. Some building toys like Tinker Toys can poke an eye and cause serious damage. It is important to check the age recommendation for toys and think about if there are younger siblings in the home. Even things like crayons, markers and colored pencils could cause an eye injury if misused.

Trust me on this one.... You'll shoot your eye out!

A Christmas Story (Full-Screen Edition)