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Monday, July 23rd, 2012
Or a patch? Or even contacts? Keep reading!
When I shared on this blog that my then-2 1/2 year old daughter needed glasses, one of the first people to reach out to me was Ann Zawistoski, who started the blog Little Four Eyes as a way to connect with other parents of young children who wear glasses. Her site is a fantastic resource for anyone who finds themselves trying to quickly get up to speed on all things eyewear, as I was.
Ann and Kristin Ellsworth, another mom of a little girl who wears glasses and founder of Peeps Eyewear, have joined forces to create a fun event: The Great Glasses Play Day, coming up on Sunday, August 5, 2012. Think of it as a playdate for kids and a meetup for parents, all in the name of helping children with vision problems foster a sense of community. The main event will be held in Minneapolis and includes crafts, readings, free eyewear adjustments, and a parade. Other events will take place in Portland, Oregon; Philadelphia, McLean, Virginia; Wauwatosa, Wisconsin (on Saturday, August 11), and even China and Australia. If you can’t make it to an in-person event, you can join in online. You can blog about the event, you can change your Facebook profile picture to a shot of your child in glasses, Tweet about it, or even interview your child about what it’s like to wear glasses and then post it on YouTube.
I think The Great Glasses Play Day is a really great idea. My daughter feels such a sense of camaraderie whenever she spots another person–any age, any gender–with glasses; I know she would be thrilled to surround herself with children who wear them just as she does. And speaking of, here she is, with more than a year of specs under her belt:
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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!
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Monday, April 25th, 2011
So here’s Lila with her new glasses. (I shared the story of how we learned she needs them here.) I have to thank all of you again for being so supportive and for providing so many helpful tips. I printed everything out, pored over all the great advice, and headed to the optometrist feeling confident. Lila really surprised us by being very patient while trying on nearly a dozen frames, and then cried when we had to leave without any glasses. (Can’t blame the girl for not getting the concept of ordering lenses and waiting for them to arrive.) In the end we went with plastic frames (several of you mentioned that the nose pieces on metal frames can bother some kids), transitional lenses (nearly doubling the price but at least setting Lila up to succeed in the sun), and no strap in the back (the optometrist said it tends to be more trouble than it’s worth).
Last Thursday night we picked up her new specs and she seemed to like them just fine. She only had to wear them for a little while before it was bedtime. Friday morning I pulled her bangs back with a barrette (another big change), put on her glasses, and brought her into the bathroom. I saw a flicker of disappointment cross her face when she looked in the mirror. “Don’t you look so pretty?” I asked. She shook her head and in a very quiet voice, she said, “No.” Gulp.
That brought up an interesting question: We were having lots of family over on Sunday for Easter. Should we all make a fuss over Lila’s new look, or downplay it? Before I went too far down that road of thinking, I decided not to micromanage this. Our loved ones could react however they want.
And by yesterday, she was already used to her glasses. She keeps them on for surprisingly long stretches of time, though at one point yesterday my nephew walked into the kitchen with Lila’s glasses, saying, “She chucked these and ran away.” She’s definitely discovered the power these little spectacles hold, so I need to work on dialing down my reaction when she takes them off. (I remember at least one of you suggesting simply putting them back on with a smile. I have to keep that in mind!) But all in all, so far so good.
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Tuesday, April 12th, 2011
In the middle of all the excitement of potty training, Lila had her 2 1/2 year checkup last week. It was actually kind of fun. Our pediatrician called Lila “awesome” when she told the doctor, unprompted, “I am happy.” And she called her “amazing” when Lila got not one but two shots without so much as flinching. (It was pretty amazing.)
But the doctor didn’t love how the eye exam went down. When I helped by covering one of Lila’s eyes while she identified pictures on the vision chart, she kept pushing my hand away. Then she correctly identified the bird in the top row, but then when the doctor pointed to a bird a few rows down, Lila said “Two birds.” “You see two birds?” the doctor asked, but I knew what Lila meant: She saw one bird up top, and this was the second. “But most kids wouldn’t say ‘two birds,’” the doctor explained. “They’d usually say ‘another bird.’” We tried again to put my hand in front of her right eye but Lila squirmed away. I told the doctor that I really thought Lila simply didn’t want my hand there, and she said, “I’m inclined to believe that, too, but let’s have her checked by an ophthalmologist just to be sure.” I couldn’t have been less concerned. I knew exactly why Lila reacted the way she did during the exam. In fact, when my husband made the appointment for yesterday at 5 p.m., it didn’t even cross my mind to leave work early to join them.
So it was shocking—and way more upsetting than I anticipated—when my husband called to tell me that Lila needs glasses. She’s farsighted in her left eye, and her right eye has been compensating (probably since birth, the ophthalmologist told me this morning). He praised our pediatrician for being “clever enough” to pick up on this, because without that eye exam, it’s not something that we would have figured out on our own. I’m so grateful to our doctor for catching this when Lila is so young. I also can’t help but feel a little disappointed that my instincts were off. I was so sure I was reading my daughter’s behavior correctly. Looking back, of course a doctor who performs pediatric eye exams every day would recognize a potentially problematic one when she sees it.
So on Saturday we’ll go get Lila glasses. One of the great things about my job is that within five minutes of hanging up with my husband yesterday, I had a small pile of all the vision stories we’ve done here at Parents over the past few years. I’m pretty sure I know the right material (titanium), frame shape (squarish), lens type (polycarbonate with reflective coating), and extras (spring hinges). But for all of you parents of little ones with glasses out there, I’d love to know any tips you want to share. What brand do you like? What features are a must for a toddler? How did you convince your child to keep his/her glasses on? (I have a kid who won’t even let me keep a barrette in her hair.) Is a strap better than covered earpieces? Thanks for any advice! And I’ll be back with an update once Lila’s an official glasses-wearer.
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