Eye Clinic Graduate!

January 28, 2010

We got some unexpected, but much welcomed news at Alex’s eye appointment at the IWK Eye Care Clinic on Tuesday – he no longer has to go there anymore!


(*Unless something happens to his eyes, or his right one starts to turn again.)

From now on, he will be seen once a year by a local ophthalmologist.  (The same ophthalmologist that Sarah sees.)

Alex first got his glasses when he was 3.5, after we noticed his eye start to turn. Thinking he had a “lazy” eye, we took him to the eye doctor to find that he was legally blind in his right eye. His vision was 20/400. (And here we just thought he was clumsy!) He had strabismus which led to amblyopia.

Over the years, we patched, dropped, argued, bribed & begged. We had sticker charts, bought webkinz and occasionally sat on him to get him to wear the patch. D’Arcy wore a patch to the school fun-fair one year, so that Alex would feel less self-conscious and couldn’t believe how difficult it was to get around and how many people asked rude questions. The Atropine changed Alex’s personality and sometimes gave him nightmares. When he started school, his vision was so bad he qualified for special education funding; he had special paper with black lines, and pictures to color that had been glue-gunned so that he could feel where the edges were he was supposed to be colouring. We had to buy a sippy cup because he couldn’t find his dishes on the table and would knock things over. I got a call from the school on his very first day because he couldn’t tell where the playground ended and the pavement started so fell and got scraped up. He was allowed to sit as close to the tv or computer as he wanted for years.

I can not even hazard a guess at how many sets of frames & lenses we went through in that time period; we had to replace his lenses the very first day he had glasses because he tripped and fell flat on his face, scratching them up…

He was never a “text-book” case, and the orthoptists actually presented his case in their classes on different occasions. His stronger eye was so dominant that at one point, it was “seeing” through the atropine for him. In essence, his brain would rather decipher the blurred image than use his weak eye!

Now that it’s over, those trials & frustrations seem like a lifetime ago. He has gone from being legally blind to being capable of  20/40 vision (he sits between 20/50 & 20/60) which means he should be able to drive. He does not have 3D vision (depth perception), yet manages to curl & play golf! He is colour blind, but so are lots of people.  His turn has gone from being greater than 30 degrees to one degree when they manipulate it!  In other words, it’s imperceptible to the naked eye!

I’m going to miss our monthly “date”, Alex & Mommy to the IWK, but I’m sure we’ll be able to come up with a better use of our time!

Alex, age 3

Alex's first day with glasses (and chicken pox)!

Alex, age 5 - eye turning more

Age 6

Age 7

5.5 years of patching and drops...

A jealous brother who wanted glasses of his own...

The night before surgery, April 7th, 2008

Recovering from Surgery

A week later...

Age 8 - Love those straight eyes!  (Still using atropine though...)

A few months later - Love those straight eyes!

Age nine - newly off the drop!

Our handsome boy, Age 9!

It was a long road for all of us, but especially for Alex.

We couldn’t be happier or more proud of him!


8 Responses to “Eye Clinic Graduate!”

  1. […] here: Eye Clinic Graduate! « Is this a Boarding House or Something? Share and […]

  2. […] encourage everyone to read the full post, it’s a great story of why patching is worth the effort and the […]

  3. Liz B. Says:

    Anne, we love hearing your success story and are so excited for Alex to see the rest of his life through a strong, healthy set of eyes. Congratulations to your family on eye clinic graduation.

    Liz @ VSP

  4. Angela Says:

    This is so wonderful. I am excited for you. It also gives me hope that oneday we will see results from my daughters patching.

  5. MT Says:

    Way to go Alex!!! Stories like your son’s give me so much hope! My daughter is patching for Amblyopia and making great progress – it will be a year next month, I am confident “we’ll get there!”


  6. almontgreen Says:

    I would encourage you to not underestimate the importance of stereovision and to take a look at:

    watch the videos.

  7. Maegan Says:

    Wow what a story! Thanks for sharing. I have a 8 month old son whose eyelid was droopy so we saw an opthomologist who found his lazy eye and so thus we begin our patching adventure. We will be heading to surjury in April.
    Hooray for Alex and all of you as you have ended this long long battle. Did you have more than one surjury?

    • Good morning!

      Thank you for your comment! We still have trouble believing that he is finished with patching! Alex did only have one surgery. He was 3.5 when we first realized the extent of his vision problems. Because of him, we realized that our daughter Sarah (now five) also had vision problems and she started wearing glasses at the age of five months. She only had to patch for a short time when she was one year old. Alex’s surgery was two years ago in April when he was 7. We were told that he was old at that time to have it, but his vision wasn’t close enough to equal to warrant doing it before. Luckily, it took and his turn went from close to 35 degrees to just one degree when they manipulate it!

      The surgery went very well and recovery was much easier than we anticipated. The hardest parts were actually handing him over to have it done (!) and coming out of the anesthetic (he was VERY cranky and it was hard for us to see his bloody tears). We kept him in a darkened room the first day, but he was on the computer & watching tv by the second. He was back to school in under a week!

      Best of luck with your little one and let me know how it goes in April!! If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me again!

      Have a great week, Anne

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