Thursday, October 14, 2010

31 for 21: Questions about eyes

There were a couple questions asked after the last post about eyes…

Rochelle asked…

Has Braska had corrective eye surgery for it? (nystagmus)

And Katelyn’s mommy asked…

Has Braska had surgery to work on correcting vision? If you have any advice on things we should specifically bring up to her opthamologist, I'd love to hear it!

The answer to both is no.  But to elaborate a little, nystagmus is not generally corrected by surgery, or at least it doesn’t generally NEED to be corrected by surgery.  We have been told from day one that is doesn’t really affect Braska’s vision, that it doesn’t cause everything she looks at to shake or wiggle, as it would seem to me.  That said, she does seem to notice it somewhat, because she tries to avoid it, which is what causes the “finding the null point” issue of tipping up, or looking down her nose.

As for other corrective surgery, it is possible that Braska may need it at some point, but it would most likely be for muscular concerns, related to her esotropia (eyes turning in, crossing).  Currently, this is just a matter of her trying too hard to focus when she doesn’t have her glasses on, so it is corrected with her glasses.  This was the reason, along with farsightedness, that she got glasses in the first place.  As long as the glasses help the problem, we’ll continue with that.  There MAY come a time when surgical intervention of some kind is needed, and we’ll deal with that then.

One other thing, since Katelyn is soon going to be seeing the eye doctor and asked about what things to bring up, I’ll just say this…  I don’t have a lot of recommendations about things to ask, especially in one so young.  The exam will be passive, in that she won’t have to *do* anything, but they’ll do it TO her, per se.  Things to note before hand that might be helpful info to share would be things like how she handles toys, if she seems to bring them right to her nose or keeps them farther out.  You might watch her to see at about what distance things catch her attention as you introduce them into her peripheral vision areas.  Or at what distance does she engage in a toy if you bring it toward her slowly from far away.  These are things that the docs asked us when we were seeing them for the first few times when Braska was very young.

Lastly, I’ll say this about glasses… no one thing, except for heart repair, has made a bigger difference in Braska’s development or personality growth than these glasses.  A large part of me wishes that we’d gotten them for her at 6 months when they thought she *might* need them, instead of waiting til 1 year when they were sure.  Her development took OFF like wildfire in the days, heck—the HOURS—after she began wearing glasses.  It was truly miraculous to watch.  Being able to see without straining opened up the whole world to her.  It helped her balance (she sat independently the following day), it helped her play skills (she could coordinate her eyes and hands to reach things), and it helped her engage in interaction with us and others, because when sitting on our laps, she could see us clearly without crossing her eyes.

I have said many times that if you are told that your child *might* need glasses, think LONG and HARD about NOT waiting.  It’s amazing what a difference it can make, and if there is a “maybe” involved, then there can’t be any harm by improved vision, it can only help.   These young little ones are learning so much, and can be SO affected by their perspective.  I really think that the earliest that their vision can be corrected, IF needed, the better.

That’s my two cents on that!


  1. WONDERFUL! Thank you so much RK. It makes me feel LOADS better about going to the opthamologist in two weeks! I really appreciate the information! :) (Kaetlyn's Mom, Kelly :))

  2. That sounds like a whole dollar's worth of good advice to me :o)


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