Some of you may be wondering what’s up with Winnie’s eyes. After all, it isn’t too often you see a tiny girl sporting some specs.
It all began in February when my mom noticed Winnie’s eye crossing in some pictures I had put up on facebook. I had never noticed it. I started looking back through pictures and sure enough, it did look like her eye was crossing a little.
I had no clue about crossing eyes but I made an appointment at an eye clinic near us. Sure enough, the doctor noticed it too and also discovered that Winnie wasn’t really using her weak eye to see. It was as if her brain just turned that eye off since it was only delivering a confusing double vision picture of everything she looked at. She also is farsighted, which is not uncommon in small children. The doctor wrote the conditions on a slip of paper for me to take home:
1. Esotropia- Accommodative esotropia
2. Amblyopia, or lazy eye
I walked out of the office with a prescription for eye glasses for my little 3 year old and a sinking feeling in my heart. I hadn’t gone in thinking that she’d have to wear glasses. I don’t really know what I had been thinking, but I suppose I had anticipated something along the lines of, “Oh, she’ll just outgrow that. It’s no big deal.” But here I was, looking for glasses for my little girl and it really was a big deal.
The prices were what I considered to be outrageous at the first store we visited. They had a very nice pair of Swissflex glasses with ‘C’ ear pieces that hook around the child’s ear to keep the glasses on. They are also designed to be virtually unbreakable. Pshhh. No way was I going to fork over North American prices when Dennis had been able to purchase a pair of glasses for himself for about $65. So I looked around at all the other stores at that mall and finally found a cute little pair of yellow glasses that cost what I was willing to pay. I bought them and they were ready to pick up the very next day.
They were so cute on her but I couldn’t help thinking as we walked through the mall that my cute little girl’s face was now covered up by an ugly pair of glasses. I felt like all people could see were those glasses. It was all I could see.
The very first Sunday she wore her glasses to church someone stepped on them. They got scratched and slightly bent. That next week they started slipping down her nose. I started nagging her to push her glasses up. She’d look at me over the top of them.
I took her in to get the glasses adjusted. It took a long time and they still didn’t stay on her nose. A few weeks later I took them to a different place, not the place where we had purchased them. They took forever and a day and finally told me, “Ma’am, these glasses aren’t made of the right plastic for adjusting.” I quietly left the store but was so frustrated that someone on this earth would even make a pair of glasses out of plastic that wasn’t good for adjusting. But it was true. The glasses were no better. They slipped, I nagged.
A month later, in March, we visited the doctor again. The doctor said that usually there is noticeable improvement in as many weeks as the child is old. But after 4 weeks there was no improvement and she prescribed a patch for my daughter to wear two hours each day. Now not only did my little girl have an ugly pair of glasses but she also had to wear a big patch part of the time. At least that is what I thought until one day I was walking through the mall and a girl about 8 or 9 years old ran past me. As she passed she looked up at me with one good eye; the other eye pointing in a different direction. She wasn’t wearing glasses. I felt so badly for her and was resolved to get over my pity party about Winnie.
At her appointment in April there wasn’t any more improvement. In fact, her eyes seemed to be getting worse. Her weak eye was still not being used even with the glasses on. The doctor gave us a stronger prescription and told us to continue the patching each day. She talked about the next step being surgery to tighten the muscles around Winnie’s weak eye.
We went in and got a different pair of glasses for Winnie. By this time I had done tons of research on the best frames for kids and knew what I wanted. I also knew by this time that the yellow pair were completely huge on Winnie and didn’t fit her properly at all. Somehow in their eagerness to make a sale none of the salespeople informed me, the naive mother, that the glasses I was picking out for my little girl were nearly 10 sizes too large.
It seemed like none of the stores carried the brands that I had researched. I looked all over the place and visited so many stores I lost count. I was frustrated and finally settled on a little wire pair from a place very close to our house- an ideal place for the inevitable adjustments.
Within a few weeks of getting her new pair of glasses they were met with an unfortunate incident involving a metal swivel stool, a flight of wooden stairs and a sister. They were unrecognizable. Twisted, missing lenses and screws. I nearly lost it. I spoke quietly to said child and waited for Dennis to get home to meet out the judgment.
We put Winnie back in the large, slippery yellow glasses and laid the shards of the “new” pair on my desk, preparing them for burial. Dennis decided to take them in to the glasses store for the final verdict. Who knew that frames damaged that badly could be repaired? I didn’t. Dennis returned triumphantly with an intact set of glasses.
A day later they were in pieces again. Apparently their tragic fall down the stairs had stripped the little screw completely. We tried unsuccessfully to put them back together but once again the slippery yellow frames came out and the shards of the metal pair lay on my desk. Dennis took them in again and discovered that they make teeny, tiny little nuts just for this sort of occasion.
The metal glasses have since stayed together but now they too slip down her nose. Oh. my.
Recently we visited the eye doctor again and this time Winnie’s eyes are finally showing slight improvement. We were thrilled.
Our childrens’ doctor suggested we take the older two girls in to get their eyes checked, too. Perhaps you will not be suprised to hear that when we discovered Squeaky needs to wear glasses for farsightedness, astigmatism and a slight lazy eye, I marched right into that very first store I had visited back when all of this began and ordered the fancy-shmancy pair. Yes, I did.