Chazz had a follow-up appointment today with his Ophthalmologist, Dr. Weber. About a month and a half ago, he got his first pair of glasses and it was time to assess!
Now understand that Optic Nerve Hypoplasia is an underdeveloped optic nerve (what sends the vision to the brain for “decoding”.) So glasses won’t improve his existing vision to 20/20 like with a “normal” eye, but there are two BIG reasons why he does need them.
1) Protection. Chazz is currently diagnosed as legally blind in his left eye and 20/200 in his right eye. (although we are convinced it is better than that!) The glasses serve as a protective barrier against any pokey object that could compromise what vision he has.
2) Correction. Since birth, Chazz’s left eye has had a tendency to wander when he is tired, and his right eye has become a little far-sighted from being much stronger than his left. Also, due to the two different images his brain is receiving from his eyes, it becomes trained to ignore one image, for Chazz his right eye (the one with better vision…). The glasses will strengthen the vision in his right eye, correct his far-sightedness, and help strengthen the muscles in both eyes to prevent any further wandering until his left eye can be surgically centered.
Now try explaining that to a two-year-old to convince him why they need to stay on!!! (hint: doesn’t work!) The first week was a little bit of a battle, and some mornings he just doesn’t want to put them on. But over all, Chazz has done so well keeping them on. Basically, unless he is sleeping or in the bath, the glasses are on. and once Dr. Weber explained how the brain starts to ignore the differing images and that it isn’t easy to get it to restart that signal, we have been pretty dang adamant about it.
Introducing the glasses was a bit of a struggle, but we made it clear that they help him see better and are to be worn always. I would say a proper fit is key if your little one gets glasses. Any sort of discomfort just adds to the madness! We brought Chazz back in twice to be re-fitted, and they said we were lucky. Also, a really cool glasses case is very important. I think because his case has cars on it, he was more willing to even try them on. Roman and I even popped the lenses out of old 3D movie glasses and rocked them along side him the first few days. We just wanted to make it a fun and easy transition.
After he had them on for a bit, we had the coolest experience ever! Suddenly, everything up close that used to be a blur for him, was visible! I took him on a close-up “re-tour” of our home. The heart on his high chair table, the pictures hung on the wall, word magnets on the fridge, ALL THINGS HE WAS MISSING OUT ON! It was one of those mixed emotion moments for me, he was seeing so much clearer, yet I couldn’t help but think of all the things he had been missing.
So fast forward to the appointment. Chazz walked right in there like he owned the place, repeating the words “eye doctor” which was adorable and hilarious at the same time. He knew what was up! His usual nurse checked him in and we sang our ABC’s and Twinkle Twinkle until Dr. Weber was ready. The appointment was pretty quick, he checked the fit of his glasses, checked his peripheral vision and pupil response, and asked how we thought it was going. We both agreed that the wandering seems to be less often and severe and that was about it.
So his next check-up is in 6 months, and hopefully by that time Chazz will be able to tell US what he is seeing. And even try a picture eye chart for the first time. How exciting!
(PS- sorry for the shotty pictures, the lighting there combined with my dying phone didn’t do us much justice!)