Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dad's A-Z: G is for Glasses

Glasses fit for Superman

It was at his 4th year check up that we discovered Lukas had an issue with his eyes.  Well, eye actually but I will get to that.  At that check up, the nurse took him to do the eye exam for the first time.

I suspect that they waited until his 4th birthday, rather than doing one on his 3rd, because they assumed he would not be able to recognize his letters before then.  But he knew them at 3, so I am a bit upset with myself for not asking that they do the test back then.

During the exam, he rattled off several of the rows with his first eye.  His vision was 20/20. But   when he switched to the second, he immediately indicated that he couldn't see the top letter.  We assumed it was because he was holding his palm over that eye while reading with the first.  But subsequent tries yielded no better results.

We were shocked.  Really.  His eyes tracked perfectly, his depth perception seemed fine (he learned to ride his pedal bike at 3!), and he gave absolutely no indication he was having problems with that eye.

It turns out he has Ambleopia, a condition where one eye becomes dominant and the other doesn't develop as much even though it is functionally sound.   Some people like to refer to this as Lazy Eye, but we don't use the L word around here.  We just refer to his 'Strong' eye (As in The Force is Strong in that eye), which he undoubtedly received from Mrs. LIAYF.  The other? Yeah, that one would be from me.  I'm not joking about that either as I was recently diagnosed with a minor case of Ambleopia myself. Apparently I have had it all my life!  How ironic is it that I would find this out now, in a completely unrelated series of events? 

His Pediatric Ophthalmologist prescribed up to 4 hours a day of patching on the strong eye, to make his affected eye work, and subsequently strengthen.  She said it will take up to 5 years of this therapy, but that there is a very strong chance that his vision will be back to 20/20 in both eyes by then.  This is great news, especially since Lukas still aspires to be the first man to set foot on Mars.  He will need both eyes at 100%.

Along with the patching, she also prescribed glasses, which he will be wearing for the 5 years as well.    Thankfully, Lukas never complained about the glasses.  We let him pick them out himself.  He chose a stylish pair with red frames because "They look like glasses Superman would wear!"


5 years is a long time, and although we are glad he will get back to 20/20 Mrs. LIAYF and I wish we would have known sooner.  That might well have cut down on the time period for correction.

So, we would encourage parents of young kids to have their eyes checked as young as possible.  Even if they seem to have perfect vision.  It won't cost you anything, but it may just give you a jump on a problem that takes a long time to resolve.


Hey Monkey Butt said...

I remember years ago having my daughters eyes checked cause I thought she was having some trouble with it, but all was well. I have terrible vision, but it didn't hit until I was in middle school or something. I'm hoping my girl doesn't have the same problem, though she is always saying she wants to wear glasses/contacts like Mom. Gah!

Slamdunk said...

Good advice James. Glad Lukas' vision is back on track and he can hit clean-up again.

daniel said...

I've always had glasses for my whole life. Lousy vision and astigmatism - both. My Ciaran now has glasses, and 4 seems to be the age where kids are given the first pair of glasses. We've suspected for a while. So far, he's the only one who needed them so early. Kyle didn't discover he needed them until about 17.

jetts31 said...

My oldest (9yo) got glasses at age 3. My youngest (6yo) got glasses before she was 2.
We only noticed on my oldest because her one eye kept crossing.
We had my youngest checked because of her older sister.

Canadian Dad said...

My son (Lucas) is going for his first eye appointment in a couple of weeks as well. The way he dominates at MarioKart would have me believe he is fine. Unfortunately, my side of the genes would dictate a far less happy fate for his eyes.
Good luck to your little guy!!

Jack said...

My son didn't get glasses until just before his 11th birthday but I suspect that he needed them a year before.

Sometimes these things slip by, makes you mad but it is hard to catch stuff like this.

Easy to figure out when they have a cold or aren't feeling well, but vision...

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J-Tony said...

I've got two of my clowns in glasses. One has been in them since she was two. I think they do better with it then we parents do....Love the A-Z posts.

Anonymous said...

I just saw a couple preschoolers at my son's school who were wearing patches. Turns out they were twins. One had a strong right eye and the other had a strong left eye. Your son looks so adorable with his glasses.