Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Yesterday my daughter Lila had her followup visit with the ophthalmologist. It’s been three months since she got her glasses, and the point of the visit was to make sure the glasses are doing their job, which is to help bring her left eye up to speed and to stop putting all the burden on her stronger right eye.
Lila’s been such a good sport about wearing her glasses, and she now enjoys “reading” (unlike before, when she’d run away when we tried to sit her down with a book). So I knew the glasses were working. But just like the first time she went to the eye doctor and I didn’t even join my husband on the appointment because I was so sure there was nothing wrong, I once again found myself taken aback by the outcome.
The first part of the exam went fine. The doctor complimented Lila for following his finger back and forth so well. He asked if she ever crosses her eyes. Nope. Does she wear her glasses regularly? Yep. All good.
Then we moved on to vision chart, where Lila, still in glasses, had to identify pictures projected on the wall while a tissue covered her good eye. First up: a cake with candles.
Then a bird. “Duck.” Close enough.
Then a hand. “Birthday cake.” Crap.
“That’s a birthday cake?” the doctor asked.
I found myself looking at the fingers and thinking, “They sort of look like candles…”
He tried again, using a bigger version of the hand. “Birthday cake.”
That was all it took for him to recommend Lila wear an eye patch in addition to her glasses. She’ll wear it over her good eye for the next four weeks. If the doctor determines that her weaker eye is getting stronger, she can stop the patch, but we’ll have to check back in a month after that to make sure her eye isn’t weakening again.
I felt like crying when he told me all of this. But when Lila asked, “Mommy, you sad?” I snapped out of it. We picked up the patches at CVS and headed home to try them on.
This daughter of mine—who isn’t what I would call a low-maintenance child—didn’t even flinch when I applied the patch. She didn’t try to remove it, she didn’t complain. It was a non-issue.
My older daughter, on the other hand… She was the one who needed comfort. Julia cried when she saw Lila with the patch. Then she told me in a quiet, shaky voice, “I don’t even want to look at her.” Then she stared nonstop, with a furrowed brow and panicked expression. So we had a private little talk. She admitted that she’s worried about Lila’s eyes. She thinks Lila looks “funny” with the patch. She’s scared people will laugh at her little sister. I was able to calm her down by explaining that I was upset at first too, and that the patch really will help Lila. But at bedtime the fears started in again, and she said she didn’t want Lila to walk with her into day camp like she usually does because she doesn’t want her counselors to stare at her. Sigh.
But here’s my question for all of you who’ve been down this patch path: Are the cheapie ones from the drugstore the way to go, at least for now? I like them because they’re subtle. But should we try the more colorful ones that Lila might find more fun to wear—and may last longer—but will also draw lots of attention to her? You were all so great about sharing advice when I found out Lila needed glasses. I’d be grateful for more now that we’re at this next step. Thank you!Add a Comment