Friday, April 29, 2011

My Baby Can See!!!!

Did that title strike you as strange? I know this has nothing to do with eating clean, fitness, competing, or anything else... My youngest has vision issues. When she was tiny (a toddler) she developed a wandering eye and the doctor treated it by patching her for several weeks. Broke my heart to see my little baby with a patch, and a girlfriend and I got together and made up several patches with little backpacks to match (and hats) out of cute kidsy fabrics. Anyway, at the follow up appointment, the doctor discovered the condition had flip-flopped. Not reversed. Flipped to the other eye! We had to patch her OTHER eye for a couple weeks. OY! Once the trauma of that was done, little Bethany was prescribed glasses. She's very far-sighted, and has astigmatism, though the wandering eye disappeared.

She's worn glasses ever since. About 8 years ago, our current eye doctor was helping me better understand how Bethany views the world and he put me in the chair and dialed up how she "sees". I cried. That's how my baby girl sees the world?? It was fuzzy and dull... nothing like the way I see things. Then he dialed in her prescription lenses, so I could see how she sees "fixed". I cried some more. It still wasn't "right". It hurts to know that my daughter doesn't see things in vibrant focus.

Years pass, and while she has the glasses, in the last couple years she's moved to contacts, and her vision has remained about the same. A month ago she came to me complaining that her left eye (the one that has the worst vision) was becoming blurry. Then the eye began to wander out again. Today was our appointment with the doctor. Her prescription has changed, her eye has worsened. We talked about her condition, and the ramifications that she'll deal with throughout life. Then the doctor got this funny "thinking" look. He started asking her how she was doing with the contacts, is she comfortable, and so on. He then suggested something new. A different type of lens for the left eye. The right eye is the same as it has been, so nothing new there, but he brought out a new lens that is specifically for her type of astigmatism. He explained the several drawbacks, that the lens is odd shaped, thicker, heavier, but she agreed to give it a try.

She popped it in, and he dimmed the lights and pulled up the vision test again. She covered her right eye, and began to read the bottom line. All the way across. Correctly. In all her years, she has never been able to read the second to last, or last line of that screen. Ever. She read the whole thing. It was crystal clear. My baby could see.

While the doctor wasn't fighting back the tears that I was, he was pretty darn pleased. We go back in a week for a follow up, then order the new lenses. Her glasses remain the same, there's nothing more they can do with those, but this new contact is like a miracle. We walked around stores for a while and Bethany kept commenting on how different everything looks. I kept fighting those tears.

I'm so grateful. My baby can see.


  1. That's amazing!! What great news! :)

    Your post actually reminds me of a passage in Jeanette Walls' memoir. Here's an excerpt:

    When the glasses were ready, we all went down to the optometrist. The lenses were so thick they made Lori’s eyes look big and bugged out, like fish eyes. She kept swiveling her head around and up and down.
    “What's the matter?" I asked. Instead of answering, Lori ran outside. I followed her. She was standing in the parking lot, gazing in awe at the trees, the houses, and the office buildings behind them.
    “You see that tree over there?" she said, pointing at a sycamore about a hundred feet away. I nodded.
    “I can not only see that tree, I can see the individual leaves on it.” She looked at me triumphantly. “Can you see them?"
    I nodded.
    She didn’t seem to believe me. "The individual leaves? I mean, not just the branches but each little leaf?"
    I nodded. Lori looked at me and then burst into tears.
    On the way home, she kept seeing for the first time all these things that most everyone else had stopped noticing because they’d seen them every day. She read street signs and billboards aloud. She pointed out starlings perched on the telephone wires. We went into a bank and she stared up at the vaulted ceiling and described the octagonal patterns.
    At home, Lori insisted that I try on her glasses. They would blur my vision as much as they corrected hers, she said, so I’d be able to see things as she always had. I put on the glasses, and the world dissolved into fuzzy, blotchy shapes.

  2. That's exactly it! It's amazing, isn't it? I take for granted the way I literally see the world, and now that Bethy is seeing it fresh, I'm opening my eyes again, too. It's incredible! That excerpt nails it. :-)