About a year and a half ago we found out that Cameron had a lazy eye. My mind instantly went to the dreaded eye patch. I’d seen a few kids wear them when I was growing up, and believe me it did not inspire any jealous feelings on my part. The eye patch looked uncomfortable, irritating, and well…dorky.
I wasn’t looking forward to my middle child joining that club, but if it had to be done so be it. But the eye doctor informed me that in the last 20 years they’ve come a long way from just using an eye patch to correct lazy eye. He said in extreme circumstances that method was still used but that he wanted to try some things before we got to that point. I will admit that I was very surprised, and relieved to hear that.
So Cameron got his glasses, and he was none to happy about it at first. I vividly remembered the fights I used to have when Brendan was put into glasses at 18 months. We finally had to get a strap for the glasses so that Brendan was unable to take them off himself. The eye doctor said that he only absolutely needed to wear the glasses 6 hours a day. But rather than put myself into a position to argue with Cameron every single day on whether or not it had been 6 hours we just made the rule that he would wear them all day long. Besides, more is better, right?
We’ve had follow up appointments every 3-4 months since getting the glasses. Each time we went the eye doctor told us the same thing; the glasses were helping but not as much as he’d hoped. He would then prescribe more time in the glasses and a follow up appointment. The last time we’d gone to the eye doctor he’d indicated that our appointment this week would be our drop dead date. If Cameron hadn’t made enough progress by the time he started in Kindergarten then he’d have to take more drastic measures to correct the problem.
Of course my mind went right back to that handy, dandy eye patch. I don’t know for certain that’s what the doctor would have done, but when he says drastic, I hear eye patch. The appointment was scheduled for Tuesday evening. I’d made it so late in the day so that Matt would be home to take care of the other kids and I wouldn’t have to drag them all along (I’ve done that–it’s not pleasant). Making the appointment for 5:30 seemed fantastic until I started realizing that we’d need to leave at 5:00 which meant that dinner would either be at 4:30 or 6:30.
We opted for the earlier dinner, and threw together a fairly simple meal. As we were sitting down to eat I reminded Cameron that he needed to eat fairly quickly so we could leave for his eye appointment. He immediately began to whine and ask if the eye doctor was going to pull out his teeth, because he didn’t want to have his teeth pulled. Evidently Brendan’s recent trip to the dentist was still fresh in Cameron’s mind and he assumed all doctor’s pull teeth. After reassuring him that eye doctors don’t pull teeth, and that he was too young to worry about having his teeth pulled he finished his dinner and we were on our way.
The kids generally love having eye appointments. Our eye doctors office has a little play room with a TV turned to Nickelodeon, Legos, books, stuffed animals, dinosaurs, basically everything that my kids love to play with because it isn’t theirs. When we go into the office to have their frames adjusted or repaired, they are not allowed to play in the play room since adjustments are usually done in under 5 minutes. Even if they aren’t the kid getting their glasses fixed, I am not about to let them play for that short a time. All that is going to do is invite whining when they have to stop.
So because they only get to go in there when they have a full eye appointment, it’s still a novelty and they adore getting to go in there. Cameron’s eye appointment this week was no exception. He kept asking me all the way over if we were late, early, or on time for the appointment because that would determine how long he got to play in the play room. I told him we were running on schedule and he was quite disappointed. On schedule usually means only 5-10 minutes of playtime whereas early gets him 15-20.
It was no surprise that about 10 minutes later when they called his name he was disgruntled that he hadn’t had enough time to play. Despite the poor attitude about that he was very cooperative with the eye doctor. At this age it’s something of a crap shoot if Cameron will cooperate with a doctor or not. When it comes to the dentist it’s pretty well a guaranteed no, with his pediatrician I can almost always expect a cooperative attitude, but with the eye doctor it’s a 50/50 shot.
But after a year and a half of pretty consistent appointments, Cameron had the routine down pat. In fact he knew so well what to expect that when they skipped over one of the tests because it wasn’t needed this time he was disappointed. The test Cameron has the most trouble cooperating on is the one where the doctor covers his eye and has him identify shapes on the chart. Because Cameron’s one eye has been so bad, they’d cover his good eye and he’d squirm around trying to get his good eye uncovered so he could correctly identify the shape.
This time though he sat quite still through the test and even identified the “house” shape as a pentagon instead. I’m guessing that means they might move him up to the letter chart next time he goes in. After he was all done, the eye doctor gave me some really good news. The glasses have finally done their job and improved his lazy eye to the point that an eye patch is no longer necessary. He will still need to wear the glasses because he is still farsighted, but at least we don’t have to worry about the possibility that our child will become a pirate down the road.
We are quite happy with this prognosis, and thrilled that after he goes back for a final checkup in February we can go back to taking him to the eye doctor every year instead of every few months. The eye doctor said there is a good chance they’ll need to tweak his prescription in February, and he’ll probably end up getting new frames at that point since our warranty on these will expire sometime soon after that.
So no pirate for us, just two bespectacled children. Kaylee goes back to the eye doctor in October and we will find out if we’re going to go three for three in the glasses department…