Going back down a familiar road

March 24, 2009

At Sarah’s last eye appointment, her orthoptist mentioned that we should probably make an appointment for Olivia’s eyes to be checked due to her siblings’ histories.  She did have a brief check by their ophthalmologist when she was about six months old.  At that time, he said he couldn’t make her eyes turn and didn’t feel the need for drops to investigate any further at that time.  He was confident that we know what to look for, so we would just keep an eye on her.

Today was her first in-depth eye appointment.  We haven’t noticed any crossing of her eyes, and when she has red-eye in photos, it’s always in both eyes.  She doesn’t have an unusual amount of accidents and recognizes many of her numbers & letters.  I really didn’t have any concerns and thought we were just going through a formality.  

I wiped down the machines they use for the pre-testing, just in case the person before her had eaten peanut-butter for breakfast, and then sat her on my lap for the “star test”.  I’m not sure what it’s really called, but it’s a camera that takes photos of their eyes while they stare at greenish-yellow star.  She was pretty good for this, but didn’t keep her head totally still.  What can you expect from a two-year-old?!  When I asked if everything looked okay so far, the technician told me her left eye bounced around a bit, but that was to be expected.  The next tests involved “picking up the fly by it’s wings” and “pushing the circle back into the page” to test whether or not her eyes work together.  She did awesome on those and loved wearing the funky sunglasses!  She has stereoscopic vision!  This was great news because it is impossible for Alex to see in 3-D and extremely difficult for Sarah…

We then went in to see the ophthalmologist.  He tested her vision with the kids’ version of the Snellen Eye Chart.  (Not sure what it’s called, but she identifies the birthday cake, horse, bird, hand, telephone, etc…)  Because of Sarah’s & Alex’s problems, Olivia had to have the Atropine Eye drops to dilate her pupils so he could accurately test her vision and see inside her eyes.  She was so good when he put them in (they sting!!) – she just laid back in my arms and waited for them without even a whimper!  She then asked for a cloth to wipe her eyes and went on her way while they took effect.  (About 20 minutes.)

She was pretty cute, back out in the waiting room.  She’s very comfortable there, since we’re in and out all the time getting the kids’ glasses tightened & fixed.  She was making the rounds of the people in the waiting room, checking out the glasses, and spinning on one of the fitting chairs.  She started rubbing her eyes and then getting cranky, stomping her feet and alternately telling me she either wanted to go to the van or go home.  I told her we just had to play a couple more games with Dr. S first.

We got called back into his office, and this time she refused to sit on my lap in the chair, insisting she do it her “self”!  He pumped the chair up as high as it would go and she sat there perfectly, looking everywhere he told her to and staying very still, even when he put the different machines in front of her face.  I was so proud of her.

When the exam was over, he turned to me, smiled and said, “Well, she’s definitely related to her siblings – she’s farsighted!”  Having hyperopia means that she has a focusing defect in which her eye is underpowered. In simple terms, this means the light rays coming from a distant object strike the retina before coming to sharp focus, blurring vision. It can be corrected with additional optical power, which may be supplied by a plus lens or by excessive use of the eye’s own focusing ability (accommodation).

This is slightly different than Alex or Sarah’s situation.  They are both far-sighted as well, but Alex in just one eye.  He had strabismus leading to amblyopia, and Sarah has alternating strabismus.  (Some day I’ll sort their eye situations into posts of their own…)

 He then proceeded to tell me that the current recommendations for kids this age by the IWK is that they only correct when the prescription requires a +4 and above and hers is still only +2.75.  In a nutshell, she will need glasses, she’s just not getting them yet.  We will continue to watch her, and she will be checked again either in a year or if we notice any problems, whichever comes first.

It’s funny, Olivia is known around here as the glasses stealer because she loves stealing glasses off of other people’s faces and wearing them herself.  I wonder now if this is a case of other people’s glasses making her see more clearly, or be careful what you wish for?!

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6 Responses to “Going back down a familiar road”

  1. destinyfay Says:

    Well I hope that is it. I am nearsighted -2.75 and have been since I was 10 (25 years.) I can’t believe she did so well, Derek does not and he has to go every 6 months – year since his surgery. they dialate his eyes and do several of the same tests as well.

  2. Ann Z Says:

    Wow, sounds like she really did a great job in the appointment! Olivia must be nearly the exact same age as Zoe – also 2. I suppose one of the few benefits of your older kids having their eye issues is that you know exactly what to look for.

  3. Ann Z Says:

    Ah, yep! Zoe’s birthday is Oct. 12, but her due date was Nov. 7.

  4. Kate Says:

    Definitely a “be careful what you wish for” kind of situation. I always wanted glasses as a kid, and was THRILLED at 9 when I “finally” needed them. Both my parents and several relatives wore glasses, so that seemed like the cool thing to do.

    Both of my sisters went through the same phenomenon.

    And then the novelty wears off…


  5. […] from Olivia’s eye appointment with great news!  At last year’s appointment, there was concern that she was farsighted and that she would be getting glasses like her siblings. Today, she sat up like a champ and “graduated” to the H-V-O-T chart instead of the […]


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