I didn’t intend to write this post at all. We did document Jah’s eye review in Feb 2015 (few months after he turned 3). But I was expecting this eye review to be rather routine. Although bad mummy didn’t realise that it had been almost 2 years since his last review sigh!
Honestly I had intended to bring him in 2017 just prior to him going to Primary 1 to get him prescribed for a new pair of glasses. However we decided to bring him earlier after an eye checkup was conducted for the K1s and K2s in his school by the Health Promotion Board. So armed with a referral letter in hand which showed his vision was not ‘perfect’ even with his specs on, we headed to his opthamologist.
As usual, a series of tests was conducted first before we got to see the doctor (reading letters of varying sizes off the screen while each eye was covered, checking eye responses with a torch in a darkened room while he watched a show on tv and then putting on lens with increasing degree until he could read the ‘fine print’). It took us about 15 minutes or so but phew that he cooperated through most of it and only becoming abit restless towards the last few lines.
When we finally saw the doctor, she told us that his astigmatism degree in each eye had gone up by about 25degrees each (so 250 in his right eye and 25 in his left). Not too bad I guess? She asked if we wanted to get new glasses made since he has been using the same one for the past 2 years and if we did then we would have to do the eye dilation so that she could pinpoint the exact degree with more accuracy and write him the prescription. However she mention that the dilation was likely to give a very similar reading since the increase was only 25 degrees in each eye. I was about to say sure let’s do it and get him his new glasses for the new school year when she had more news for me..
She reveals the dreaded info which we had kind of been hoping to avoid..”he has developed a lazy eye in the weaker eye so we will have to start patching his eye 2 hours every day.”
So let’s backtrack a little here..Jah has had very high astigmatism in 1 eye which was detected when he was 3. The result of very high astisgmtism especially in 1 eye if left untreated (no glasses worn), is that he would develop a lazy eye in the weaker eye. This is because the brain would start to ignore the ‘signals’ from the weaker eye and form a preference for the stronger eye. This would eventually lead to a severe deterioration of the vision in the weaker eye.
We had opted to make him wear his glasses since he was 3 despite him having to put up with kids who think the glasses are a plaything or hearing comments from kids and adults about it, to avoid the lazy eye.
But it looks like despite all that, the lazy eye has found us. 😦 That being said, his lazy eye seems to be at a very initial stage where hopefully early detection and intervention will see some progress or stop any deterioration.
So yes back to present day where we would have to patch his left eye for 2 hours everyday for the next 4 months until our review with the dr again. We decided to push the dilation test to 4 months later and get his new glasses then. If we have learnt anything as a parents, it is dealing with one unknown at a time. So rather than throw him off with a dilation test today, we decided to focus on talking to him about the eye patching and why it needed to be done. Ok granted I added quite abit of fluff :p
So if you have a kid who needs to be convinced to patch his eye..here are some of our tips on how we tried to handle it..
1) We had a choice between regular plain patches and patterned ones (price diff $10 per box of 50). We chose the patterned ones to make it more fun and attractive. Then again once he saw the 2 options, there was really no turning back for us :p
2) We explained that we needed to train his other eye, help it gain strength like building his muscles in the gym so that he could battle and gain X-ray vision. Yes the whole works about there being hidden power in that eye that needs to be uncovered..this is more boy-centric but u could possibly try magic and fairy power of some sort with girls?
3) We explained the schedule to him of when and how long it needed to be done. We told him that we will only do it after school when we are at home. He will not wear it in school and he will only wear it out if he is comfortable. (In fact he asked to go buy food with us this evening, in his eye patch). He did ask why people were staring at him but I explained that some times people stare at things that they don’t understand and that if anyone asked him what happened to his eye, he can either tell them he is increasing its power or ask them to ask his mummy. But avoiding the patching at school, will help to prevent any teasing and help us to monitor his own reaction too.
4) We spent the first 10-15 mins after patching his eye paying close attention to him as he might be disoriented from having one eye covered and only using his weaker eye. Try to spend as much of that 2 or 3 hours of eye patching time with him, doing activities together or just watching a show together. This will help him enjoy patching time more because he gets to spend time with you and again you get to monitor his reaction. Jah got abit agitated initially because he wasn’t used to the adhesive and it was making him itchy but spending time with him and addressing it, helped him to calm down. By the 1st hour, he was really happy to declare that “I’m feeling used to it now mummy.” Phew!
5) If your kid has sensitive skin like Jah then apply some moisturiser to his face after removing the patch so avoid any rashes from flaring up.
Hopefully these tips will come in handy..:)
Super thankful for a good first day and for a awesome boy who cooperated in fact we did some painting in the 2nd hour and he wore the patch with no complaint for almost 3 hours. He even helped me to remove it while I ‘splashed’ it with water, to help it come off more easily.
Hoping the rest of the journey will be as easy too and that we make good progress with early intervention 🙂