Bright-Eyed at Last
When Heidi Coleman's daughter, Lauren, was a baby, people always commented on how tired she looked. "They'd tell me she looked like she was ready for her nap-even after she'd been sleeping for hours," Heidi says. Lauren was born with droopy eyelids, or ptosis, which is usually caused by poorly developed eyelid muscles. About one in 20 kids are born with the condition in one or both eyes. Heidi and her husband, Larry, didn't worry too much about it. But one day, a physician friend told the Colemans that Lauren's condition was easily treatable. Heidi brought it up with her pediatrician, who referred her to a pediatric ophthalmologist.
"We went to see if she would grow out of it and to make sure that her vision was okay," Heidi recalls. Lauren's eyesight was fine, but she was at risk of developing vision problems because the eyelid was keeping light from stimulating certain parts of the brain, says her surgeon, Sharon S. Lehman, M.D., chief of pediatric ophthalmology at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, in Wilmington, Delaware. Lauren's parents-and her doctors-were also concerned about the emotional ramifications of her sleepy appearance. Lauren has cystic fibrosis, and they agreed that she didn't need another physical obstacle in her path.
The operation, performed when Lauren was 2, went off without a hitch. To lift each eyelid, Dr. Lehman tunneled a piece of donor connective tissue under Lauren's skin and suspended it from a muscle in her forehead. "Her spunky personality shines through now that you can see her vibrant eyes," Heidi says.
Copyright © 2002 Lauren Picker. Reprinted with permission from the April 2002 issue of Parents magazine.
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