Friday, July 25, 2008

Patch

At our last visit to the ophthalmologist (only one misspelling that time!) - which I can only hope was actually covered by our insurance - I found out that my three-year-old's eyes are not crossing as much as they used to. That's great news! The glasses are working.

When the nurse asked me to cover my child's left eye he read everything off the chart, both near and far. But then, when I covered his right eye he shook his head and pulled my hand away. When I finally got him to sit still and look at the eye chart, he couldn't tell a ducky from a birthday cake. The nurse asked him what he saw on the projection screen across the room and he said, "Fire!" I guess because of the light.

The ophthalmologist had a student ophthalmologist with her that day. She explained to him (not to me) that my son had (insert unpronounceable term as hard to spell as ophthalmologist) which simply means that his eyes had been crossing to compensate for the difficulty of focusing, and in order to avoid seeing double, his brain learned to ignore the left eye. The solution: an eye patch over the stronger eye, worn two hours a day, while the child does some activity involving vision, like television, computer games, puzzles, or books.

My first thought was, "That's not so bad." I am sorry to admit my second thought was, "There goes my writing time."

I already told you how much my son hated me covering his right eye with my hand. The patch was even worse. It was a clever little contraption that attached to his glasses instead of sticking on his face. He quickly learned how to pull it down just enough to peek over it so that it looked like he was wearing it even when it wasn't doing him any good. If I tried to read to him or do puzzles, he would hop up and run away, fling his glasses off in some hard-to-find location, and then come back. I decided to work him up to the full two hours instead of asking him to do it all on the first day.

It was uncanny doing puzzles with him the first time he wore his patch. Using both eyes, he could always get the pieces in the right place every time. With his left eye, he fumbled around and usually aimed the pieces about half and inch to the left. But now, at the end of the second week, he will wear his patch for about thirty minutes before he tries to dispose of it when I'm not looking, and he will point directly to pictures on command instead of off to the left of them. It seems to be working.

I'm supposed to go back to the ophthalmologist in two weeks. If I can get my referral extended. Hopefully she'll confirm my suspicions that my son's left eye is on the way to recovery, and she won't do anything that requires any pre-authorization I haven't got.

2 comments:

One Sweet Life said...

I've noticed his eyes looking better in nursery ... great job girl! He'll thank you so much for all your hardwork! :)

Kathy said...

wow - poor little guy! as i was reading your entry i was thinking about how hard it would be for him to have his good eye covered up and feel like he is suddenly almost blind since his brain has learned to mainly use the other eye. i'd rip off the patch, too! but i'm glad to hear that it seems to be helping!