Thursday, July 19, 2012

Glasses For Eliza

A couple of months ago, Nathan noticed Eliza's eyes cross for the first time. While concentrating, her left eye went inward and then straight again as she tried to focus. I asked my mother, a nurse at an eye clinic, about the situation. She recommended that we continue to monitor Eliza's eyes and to immediately schedule an appointment if we noticed it again.

We went a couple of weeks without another incident, but we soon saw her eye's crossing again--particularly her left eye. The closest pediatric ophthalmologist is nearly two hours away and the soonest appointment I could schedule was in late August. I was worried about waiting to take care of the problem and delaying help for Eliza.  My prayers for an earlier appointment were answered yesterday when I noticed a sign advertising "eye care for children" at the local health clinic. Apparently, our little town has a new eye doctor.

I immediately called and asked for the soonest available appointment. I was thrilled when the receptionist said they could see us at 8:00 the very next morning. We let Eliza know she would be going to the eye doctor and that she would most likely be fitted for glasses. Fortunately, there is a Yo Gabba Gabba episode where Muno gets glasses, so Eliza knows all about them and what they do.

She was a dream at the appointment. All of the nurses kept saying, "She is so cute!" and she would reply, "I know. I'm beautiful. Thank you!" She thoroughly enjoyed being in the spotlight (which is rare when we go out with the twins these days). Before the eye exam, the nurse asked her a few initial questions, and Eliza was able to explain that her left eye sometimes "felt funny" and didn't work as well as her other eye. The nurse then said, "Well, let me get the book of symbols out. Too bad she doesn't know her numbers!" Eliza quickly said, "I know my numbers!" The nurse took out a flip book with numbers, and Eliza proved that she could properly identify each number. The nurse was impressed and congratulated Eliza on a job well done. Eliza was beaming with excitement. 
Once we established that she could identify the numbers with both eyes, we began one of the initial exams. We covered Eliza's left eye and she was able to get all of the number right except for a couple (she confused 9/4 and 7/1). We then covered her right eye, and Eliza recognized less than half of the numbers. Her confidence and happiness disappeared for a moment as she looked at me and said, "Mama, help me." Of course, I started crying. I tried to keep Eliza from seeing me cry, but I felt so guilty and sad that she was having problems seeing. More than that, I hated that she realized she was getting the answers wrong.

The nurse and I were quick to praise her for getting the answers right and let her know she was a smart girl. Instantly, she was happy again. We did a few more vision games (this time with symbols), and Eliza continued to enjoy herself until we covered her right eye and moved the symbols further away from her. When the doctor came in to do a quick vision test himself, he immediately noticed she was very farsighted and had a severe astigmatism in her left eye and mild astigmatism in her right eye. He then did a game, and again, she looked at me for help when she realized she couldn't tell the difference between a plane and a house. We continued to give her positive praise and by the end of the "game," she was smiling as she shouted a made-up answer. Her vision was really so bad that she couldn't even guess.

Then, it was time for the fun part. In order to get an accurate reading for her prescription lenses, Eliza's eyes had to dilated. Five separate drops were put into each eye, and Eliza did not cry or even move. She was so amazing that I couldn't stop hugging her. I felt so proud of my big girl. We then took a break (it takes about 30 minutes for the eyes to fully dilate) and went to pick out her glasses.
She instantly fell in love with some beautiful pink Ni-Hao, Kai Lan glasses. Of course, our insurance did not cover any of the "fancy" brands, so I was left with the choice of paying full price for a pair of glasses she loved or taking a pair that she liked somewhat for no out of pocket expense. The decision didn't take but a couple of seconds to make. How could I say no to this?
She couldn't stop smiling, so we knew we had a winner! Even if our budget is shot for the month, I know that the money was well spent. Glasses are going to be a big change for Eliza, so I really want her to love the pair we get.
I remembered my little brother wearing glasses and could hear my mother saying, "Always have two pairs!" We found another pair that we both liked that was covered by insurance. Although she initially wanted two pairs of pink glasses, I think I convinced her that clear glasses are also cool. Success!
Sure enough, when I called my mom to let her know Eliza was getting glasses, the first thing she said was, "Make sure you buy two pairs." Got it covered, Mom!

We went back for a final evaluation and the doctor did the exam to find out the prescription. As it turns out, Eliza can barely see out of her left eye (things in the distance, at least). Her right eye is better, but not by much. The doctor explained that the full prescription would overwhelm Eliza's eyes and brain, causing headaches. Because of this, the prescription will be cut in half and then gradually increased over the course of a year. Even though she won't see perfectly with the first set of lenses, they will still greatly improve her current vision.

Following two hours of "games," exams, machines, trying on glasses, and then mild torture (she didn't like having her eyes dilated, which is understandable.), we finally left. Eliza was definitely ready to go and even asked for a nap.  I was anxious for her to sleep and rest her eyes.
It's hard to keep flimsy sunglasses on a two year, but absolutely necessary when one has such huge pupils!
After talking with my mother about the diagnosis, I realize we are lucky to have caught the issue so soon. With glasses, the astigmatism and farsightedness could possibly go away after a few years. My brother had the same exact condition (sorry for the bad genes, Eliza), and the matter was corrected after two years of glasses.  20 years later, my sister and I still like to post pictures like this on Facebook and smile at his cuteness :)
(And now you can see why our family always teases him about his "huge noggin." Love you, Hudson!)


  1. She could not be any cuter! Those glasses. I die.

    I'm glad someone else has the same freakish memory as me. I thought I was the only one! And it's not creepy that you have memories of me from girls camp because I definitely have memories of you from camp and other stake activities, and had the same thoughts about being friends. Curse that adolescent awkwardness.

  2. Ummmm, she's adorable in those glasses. :) She's so smart looking. Reminds me of how much I need to get new glasses, so I can look as cool as her. I can't believe how bad of problem she was having seeing. I'm glad that she'll find some relief from that. And can we just discuss how cute that picture of you and your siblings is! Oh the early '90s. Not quite yet out of the '80s fashion, but still trying to find it's place. Pretty sure I had a dress that's super similar in design.

  3. Wow, she looks SOOO cute in those! I love the little picture of her looking away with those adorable dimples. I'm so glad she got help and can see now! That picture of you guys is the cutest!! Your brother needs to go cry himself to sleep on his huge pill-a. :)

  4. Awww, you are your mother's daughter! I had to have glasses when I was a little girl too for glasses were not that cute, and I hated them and didn't want to wear them. Glad you got her the cute pink ones she wanted! I think kids in glasses are just the cutest things ever...even Hudson was adorable! I really don't see the big head thing, but you guys' little family joke about it is funny. :-)

    1. And it definitely is correctable because I didn't have to wear glasses through most of elementary school until I was in my 20s and married. I guess I just have old age bad eyesight now.


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