a blog about raising a daughter with cerebral palsy and learning unexpected lessons along the way

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Eye Update

Yesterday was another long and tiring day for us. We headed to northern Virginia for Oia's second opinion ophthalmology appointment. We left the house shortly before 11:30am and returned home just before 9pm. Traffic, a 3 hour appointment, little nap, and more traffic made us all a little fussy.

We really enjoyed our visit with Dr. P who is a down-to-earth, experienced man who never rushed through the appointment and made all efforts to understand Oia's background therefore helping us the best he could. The main objective for the appointment was to see if Dr. P agreed if Oia would benefit from strabismus surgery in her right eye as her current ophthalmologist suggested. The answer was yes, but he felt the benefits were likely to only be cosmetic and held very little hope that she would benefit visually.

A little bit of visual history to help put this all into perspective...

Both eyes, but mainly the left eye, gazed outward in the very beginning. Glasses at 4 mo. old corrected the alignment of both eyes.

All was well and good for the first year in glasses....straight eyes most of the time...until just this past spring. Then, we began to notice a change in the eye alignment again. This time it was the right eye that veered inward and left eye remain straight most often and it became quite obvious that the left eye was now the dominant eye. (This is a noted mystery to Oia's orthotist, neurologist and both ophthalmologists but no-one has chosen to look further into this. We will pursue.)

We were told to physically patch Oia's eye to 'shut down' the dominant eye and force the right eye to function. Theoretically, this made sense but not to a nearly 2 year old. She ripped the patches off quicker than we could put them on and short of sitting on her arms the patches were NOT going to stay. We were prescribed Atropine drops; the next best thing to patching. 1 drop/day in the dominant eye to dilate the eye thus blurring its vision. Nearly 5 months of Atropine drops and right eye showed no change. Left eye still did all the work of both eyes, right eye stayed inward.

We've done glasses. Check. We've tried 'patching'. Check. The only option now is surgery. That was the discussion with Dr. P yesterday. After a very thorough examine, he believes that Oia would benefit from strabismus surgery, BUT, as mentioned above, benefits would more than likely only be cosmetic. Straightening her eye would be "no problem" but he said her right eye has little visual function (my mind translates that to blind in the right eye) and prognosis doesn't look so good. That was the lump in my throat that I tried to swallow on the 2+ hour ride home. I appreciate a doctor's honesty. It was without that honesty from Oia's current ophthalmologist that led me into assuming that once the eye was 'straight' we could regain or strengthen the vision in that eye. I never knew the lack of function in the right eye was so severe.

So, surgery it is bright and early on February 5th with the new ophthalmologist. We have to try. My heart is hopeful for vision gains but realistically I know chances are slim.

In the meantime, Dr. P said to begin adding 1 drop of Atropine to Oia's left eye again and to make sure she spend some time without her glasses on. Why blur an eye to penalize it but then continue wearing glasses to help it? It makes perfect sense.

Follow up with Dr. P in 4 weeks. Maybe drops will help...without glasses this time...or maybe they won't. We'll never know if we don't try. Oia deserves to see the world as we see it and we will do whatever is in our power to try and make that happen.

Please keep her in your thoughts.

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