A Little More Strabismus

04.4.11

This morning we were at UCLA before our 8am appointment. I know from past experience that two families will have 8am appointments, but one family will sign in first, and they will be first.

Alexander had an eye exam, no dilation, but an exam nonetheless. I thought that today they would schedule a surgery, unfortunately even after two sets of surgery, nine years of wearing glasses and diligent patching Alexander’s eyes aren’t in perfect alignment.

I thought his right eye turned out a little, but it’s actually his left eye coming up. My son cocks his head to the side when he’s concentrating. I thought it was adorable, but now that I see that it’s compensation for eyes that aren’t quite straight I find it crushing.

The doctor changed the prescription on his contact lens and we’ll see if that corrects the issue in the next three months. At the end of the quarter we’ll have another exam and evaluate the progress, the prognosis and make a decision about surgery. It’s a small surgery, only two, maybe three muscles, possibly only one eye.

Unless it’s your eye, then it’s a big surgery. Oh, or if it’s your child. That’s a big surgery too.

Alexander is old enough, and perceptive enough that he’s in on the discussions. He understands that we’re fighting to get him depth of vision, and he really loves sports, he wants to be able to see everything. It’s nice that he’s so mature, and that he can talk about what he needs and wants. We are somewhere beyond privileged that we live in Los Angeles and have the best physicians practicing here. We are just plain lucky that insurance handles everything.

But I still don’t feel lucky, happy or privileged today. Today I feel like vomiting. Tomorrow will be different.

Nintendo’s 3D Gaming Device Comes with a Warning for Children Under Six

12.30.10

According to the NY Daily News, Nintendo’s soon to be released 3d Gaming device comes with a warning that it could injure the eyes of children under 6.

Nintendo 3D

Last night I spent about half an hour with Alexander getting a dried out contact lens out of his eye. My son is incredibly lucky that with his vision problems we live a stone’s throw from UCLA and some of the most talented physicians on the planet.

My son is nine, and he still wears a patch every day. Why? Because his eyes are not done growing, because his synapses are not fully developed. I don’t know when Alexander will stop wearing an eye patch, but I know his eye sight is changing, and this means that the same is true of the development of your child of the same age.

I cannot give you any answers, advice or knowledge for children ten and up, but I can tell you with great authority that if your child is nine or younger they still have growth as it relates to their eyes and the muscules that surround them. I can also tell you that when I patch my son’s “good eye” and he’s not wearing contacts or glasses he tenses up, and fights back tears. He cannot see. Watching my boy struggle to make out shapes is incredibly painful. I would never do anything to jeopardize his vision (or any other child’s for that matter).

If Nintendo knows that their device can cause damage for your child who is five and half years old, I have no reason to believe it won’t do damage to my son’s eyes at nine. My son has seen a pediatric opthamologist from the time he was four months old until earlier this month. I know of no great milestones that occur at age six.

Related, I got these tips to help avoid digital eye strain from VSP. It’s sort of interesting watching my family watch TV (or any screen), now I notice how much they don’t blink.

Easy Tips to Avoid Digital Device Eye Strain

  • Blink Often: When looking at a computer or hand-held digital device, it’s common for you to blink two to three times less than you normally would. This can lead to “dry eye.” Blinking bathes your eyes in tears, and tears are naturally therapeutic for the eyes.
  • The 20/20/20 Rule: When spending long periods in front of a digital device, every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away to allow your eyes to rest.
  • Ensure Proper Lighting: Poor lighting often causes eye strain. To help ease the strain on your eyes, keep bright lighting overhead to a minimum and position your desk lamp to shine on your desk, and not at you.
  • Use computer vision glasses. Even if you have near perfect vision, computer vision glasses can ease eye strain from prolonged use of a digital device. [I have no clue what computer vision glasses are, I’m pretty sure they sit on the end of a string and make you look like a librarian. Not a hot librarian, the kind with blue hair and cardigans that smell like mothballs]
  • Get your eyes checked An annual eye exam is a must!  Talk to your doctor about your digital usage and if you are experiencing symptoms that include headaches, backaches, dry eyes, etc.