Tuesday, October 18, 2011

He has Amblyopia

Yesterday was D's eye exam. We had noticed his right deviating just slightly at times when he was looking at us from across the room or when he was really tired. During his exam, while he was identifying the shapes (they use a shape chart for younger patients instead of letters) I noticed he would turn his head and focus with his left eye. The doctor patched each eye to test them separately and he struggled through it with the right eye. His left eye is much stronger. I am just thankful we are catching this early. If we hadn't noticed that right eye straying we may have not found out his vision was deteriorating until he was older. So, he's getting glasses (the same exact kind that Ry has) and will patch his left eye for two hours a day to strengthen the vision in his right eye. He will also do thirty minutes of vision therapy (monocular performance therapy) while patching. Basically anything that requires fine motor skills and lots of focus. (Ry is already doing this as part of his therapy.) To quote the handout I received:
Goal: Increase visual performance in each eye, especially the amblyopic (lazy) eye. Stress the use of the amblyopic (poorer seeing eye).... The smaller or more refined the task the better. The goal in all procedures is equal performance with either eye.
 A couple of tasks will be: stringing beads, spearing raisins with a toothpick (I use small marshmallows, too), pick up items with tweezers, coloring within the lines, filling in the letter 'O' in a magazine or newspaper.

Both Ry and D have a "lazy eye" which often goes unnoticed until children are in school. Ry also has a strabismic eye (eye turn) which is related to the eye muscle. He gets a couple of different exercises to work on that. You can read more about the differences and definitions of Amblyopia and Stabismus.

I don't feel like there is enough awareness about the importance of a vision exam in young children. Our pediatrician did a eye exam with D at his 4 year check up and unfortunately I was not able to accompany him since Ry was also getting a checkup at the same time. The nurse took him back and then returned pretty quickly to say that he failed the exam because he said he couldn't see anything. It's actually highly recommended to have infants screened by an optometrist before they are a year old. Our eye doc will do this screening for free (if the child is less than a year old).

So, I'm just going to encourage you to ask your pediatrician if they suggest an eye exam for your baby... and then go see an optometrist anyway.

You can visit our doctors website here.


  1. As you said, I'm glad y'all caught it early. You're a great mom, Jaree. I should know, I'm very judgmental. ;)
    Those boys are so perfect they wouldn't be human without a tiny flaw.

  2. Yes, good thing you caught it early!! I remember kids being teased in school because of their "lazy eye"...I hope yours doesn't have to go through that!

  3. you are so right! We got Belle her first eye exam at 6 months and will do one every year from now until forever. Glad they caught everything early so it can be taken care of! prayers!