Monday, December 20, 2010

His eyes

Dawit had an appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist on Friday. His pediatrician referred him because he failed his routine eye exam at his 2-year visit. When I found out he needed to see a specialist, I was a little freaked out because they pretty much told us nothing about why he was being referred. Before our appointment, I tried to test his vision at home by pulling up all of his favorite trains on the Thomas the Train website. Like a champ, he named 5 or 6 of them with no problem. And Thomas and Gordon look seriously alike, so I was thrilled he could recognize their subtle differences in facial expression. I can't even tell them apart.

Anyway, I didn't find out til we met with the nurse Friday that he'd been referred because they suspected cataracts. I didn't know 2-year-olds got caratacts, but apparently they do. Thankfully, the nurse and the doctor both ruled it out. However, they did a dilated retinal exam and we learned that Dawit is farsighted in his right eye and nearsighted in the left eye and also has an astigmatism. The nearsightedness is more severe and normally would require glasses, but the astigmatism cancels it out, so the two problems currently have little or no effect on his vision. However, the doc said he will most definitely experience vision problems in the future -- maybe in the near future -- and will need glasses. For now we will continue to watch it by having a dilated exam every six months. As he grows and his vision develops, the problems will become more obvious and start affecting his vision, then he'll get glasses.
It's an interesting balance with kids his age. If we fail to treat it promptly, it could lead to a more serious problem called amblyopia (also called lazy eye). Kids' vision fully develops by age 9 and by that time the vision system cannot be changed. So early intervention is vital. But if we introduce glasses too early, before there's a significant difference between his normal vision and glasses-corrected vision, he will likely not respect or want to wear his glasses. So for now we wait.


HollyMarie said...

Praying that you guys will know exactly when to start with the glasses; I understand how that could be tricky! Praise God he doesn't have cataracts; I do know a family whose daughter has struggled with this for years and she has had countless surgeries in her short life.

rebekah said...

He's so darn adorable.

Quinn is farsighted in one eye and it was discovered when he was 3 1/2. He took easily to glasses at that age and handled the patching well. I think it was a few hours a day and we did that for well over a year, I think.

It worked! He still wears glasses, but has no issue with them since he's had them for so long, and no more patching.

kn said...

I'm happy no cataracts! I hope he doesn't need glasses very soon but whenever he does he's going to rock wearing them I know and he's going to look so adorable I bet other kids are going to want them.

I hope you're feeling better!


Coffeybunny said...

I am so glad it isn't cataracts. Thankfully you'll have expert care and options for treatment. He is one superbly cute little guy.