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.