Since the time Caroline was about 2 years old, one of her favorite books has been an Arthur book called, "Glasses for D.W." In the book Arthur's little sister, D.W., desperately wants to be big like Arthur and wear glasses.
Although I have read this book many times to Caroline, I did not realize how close we were to experiencing our own, "Glasses for Caroline" adventure!
At Caroline's 4 yr check-up on September 24th, Dr Pitts was going through the drill of all of the different things to watch out for in the coming year. When he mentioned the eyes, he noted that the crossing of an eye or both eyes can be an early symptom for bad vision which can even lead to other eye problems. I didn't say anything at the time since I had both Caroline and Andrew (there for his 18 month appt) in the room, but my mind began racing with doubt about whether I had actually seen this before or not. Upon arriving home and telling Ben about the appointment, I told him the different warning signs to watch out for in the coming year and when I got to the eye crossing symptom, he quickly blurted out, "I've never seen anything like that." I kept quiet for a day or so and then asked Ben to help me watch and see if we notice Caroline's right eye crossing.
I did not think that it was a figment of my imagination, but because it would happen so quickly and only on occassion, I was not sure if what I thought I was seeing was real or not. On occassion when Caroline grew tired -- always late into the evening, I would notice her right eye turning in toward her nose and then with one blink it would be back in place. After a day or two Ben reported that yes, in fact, he had observed her eye crossing.
I took a couple of days to research what this meant and then I did what I think any Mother would do, I found the first Mom I could at church that had a child that wore glasses. I received a recommendation from this friend and immediately called to make an appointment. Low and behold, the recommended Doctor is actually our regular optetrician.
On October the 13th, I picked Caroline up from ballet practice and whisked her and Andrew over to the Eye Doctor. After all of Caroline's shots at her 4 yr appointment, she was a little leary of "Doctors," so I told her we were going to see a "specialist" about "my" eyes....some fibs are okay, right? We got to the Doctor and while we waited we looked at the frames and cases. Caroline picked out a pair of glasses for herself and a pair for Andrew (purely thinking we were just playing). When they called us back, she did well with the video eye measurement screening. I went first and the image was of a barn with a white picket fence. I asked her to take a look at it to see if she could find a pony in the picture? She really liked that. We then were asked to go back to the waiting room.
When the Doctor finally called us back, I referred to him as Mr Ishaque as I quietly pointed to Caroline and told him that I meant no disrespect (He smiled knowingly). The appointment actually went pretty well - aside from Andrew jumping around the room as I tried to help Caroline. Caroline sat on my lap and looked at a bunch of pictures on the screen while holding a paddle to one of her eyes. The pictures were a flashback to 1980's clipart to say the least. I was honestly not sure if Caroline would get some of the images correct since the phone looked like a 1950's telephone (which she has never seen). She did well, but she did a lot better with the left eye than she did with her right.
After the picture recognition portion of the exam, the doctor looked into her eyes with his light and performed a few other tests. Then he looked at me and asked if she has been bumping into things.
This is when my blood pressure surged and my eyes stung with tears. I gasped and said, No, never. He stated that her vision was 20/40 in the left eye and 20/60 in the right. Her right eye was what is defined as a "lazy eye" meaning, that the right eye often does not work efficiently since her brain tells her that the left eye can dominate to allow her to see clearer.
He then told me that Caroline would ALWAYS wear corrective lenses. As hard as it is to admit, this was devestating news to me. I mean we are talking about my 4 year old daughter who has the most beautiful little face and to think she is always going to be hiding it behind GLASSES, huh, excuse me...did I hear you clearly??? Then he went further and said that if the glasses don't help the lazy eye, we will need to patch it.... pause, silence, splitting headache begins to set in.
To Be Continued.....