When Miss A was just over a year old, we noticed her eyes went a bit funny, almost like she was going cross eyes occasionally. This usually happened when she was tired, and for a couple of weeks we didn’t think too much of it, but when it started happening quite frequently, we took her to the doctors to see what it was.
It turns out she had amblyopia, otherwise known as a lazy eye. It basically means that the vision hasn’t developed correctly in one eye and the good eye over compensates for it and uses one eye more than the other. The poorer eye muscle them becomes lazier as it’s not being used.
According to statistics, one in four children will develop a lazy eye and it’s usually picked up at around the age of four. This is usually when Reception year children have their eye tests and you notice more of the class start to wear glasses and parents feel guilty for not picking up on it sooner.
There’s no way Miss A would have gotten to age four before something was spotted, her lazy eye really was lazy when it wanted to be and it was very noticeable.
The Doctor wasn’t overly concerned about getting anything done immediately. We weren’t concerned about vision as such, and there weren’t too many clumsy moments, so the eye at that stage may have been performing OK.
So, not life threatening in any way, we waited around three months for a referral to the eye unit in our local hospital. Considering the wait times I have heard from people with varying conditions, I thought this was a short period of time, and there wasn’t a lot we could do but monitor her in case she did start to fall over more and bump into things.
Once under a consultant at the hospital, our first visit was medical history, a lot of talking through what a lazy eye is, checking for squints, and checking eye sight as much as you can with a child not yet two years old. Remember she couldn’t read a chart like older children, so it was down to the Doctors to determine where she was looking and pointing at. The questions were very simple, such as “Where is the house?” on a sheet of pictures.
We were given options such as surgery to correct the lazy eye, but the notion of someone operating on our baby’s eye scared us and we dismissed it immediately, promising to think about it as time went on.
Very quickly we found ourselves with three monthly appointments which lasted for almost a year before anything else was done. These appointments were monitoring the eye sight and obviously as she grew into a toddler, she was able to communicate a little better at each appointment, and the Doctor could gain a little more information about what she could and couldn’t see,
Just before she was three years old, we had a longer appointment where she had to have eye drops to enlarge the pupils so the Doctor could get a better look and decide on the next course of action.
To be continued………… Tips for entertaining your toddler at the eye hospital