Saturday, October 25, 2014

PATTON-PAULSON: Life with rose-colored glasses

By MEAGAN PATTON-PAULSON, Growing Pains | 7/17/2013

From the first time I first heard it, I really didn’t like the term, “lazy eye.”

To me, the word “lazy” makes me think of children in front of video games, people who ditch their shopping carts in the parking lot of Walmart or the feeling I get when I don’t want to get off the couch. It’s a yucky word, I think, one that I never thought I’d use in reference to my children.

From the first time I first heard it, I really didn’t like the term, “lazy eye.”

To me, the word “lazy” makes me think of children in front of video games, people who ditch their shopping carts in the parking lot of Walmart or the feeling I get when I don’t want to get off the couch. It’s a yucky word, I think, one that I never thought I’d use in reference to my children.

About six months ago, we brought our youngest son, Asher, to an optometrist because of a stubborn tear duct in his eye that refused to open. They say if those ducts (the ones that bump up right against your nasal cavity) don’t open by the time you’re 1 year old, they likely won’t open on their own and will require minor surgery to correct.

Well, as it turned out, the tear duct opened a few days later, but at that appointment, something came up that I hadn’t foreseen.

“Do you have any family members with a history of a lazy eye? One that drifts in or out?” our doctor asked my husband and I.

We both shook our heads, confused.

The doctor proceeded to explain that, in layman’s terms, one of Asher’s eyes wasn’t working as well as the other. His brain simply was favoring one eye — the one that worked better — and the other could eventually become so weak that it would start to drift in or out and become totally useless.

I nearly fainted at that moment. My precious baby’s eyes, the sky blue ones he undoubtedly got from my gene pool, not working correctly? I could barely stand it.

The doctor told us to check back in about six months, and we’d determine a course of action then, which could include patching (putting a patch over one eye to force the other to work better), glasses, or a combination of both.

Well, around his 18-month milestone a few weeks ago, we reported back to the doctor, who recommended we get Asher glasses. We picked out some toddler-friendly ones — also baby blue in color and made entirely out of plastic — perfect for active kiddos who may at times, sit, stand, bend, chew or twist their newfound “toy.”

I didn’t know how Asher would react the first time we put his glasses on. The doctor had warned us that he could love them or hate them, and that we should be prepared for either. I had pictured a stubborn little boy who ripped them off every chance he got.

But that’s not what happened at all. Seconds — and I literally mean seconds — after we placed them on his head, Asher began to roam around his room, examining his toys and books like it was the first time he was seeing them. I couldn’t believe it. I watched in awe as he rediscovered his newfound world, with 20/20 vision.

Now, about a month after he started wearing them, Asher’s glasses have become a normal, everyday part of his look and his life. (And I must say, he does look rather dashing in them.)

I feel so incredibly blessed in the way this whole experience has played out. I mean, we’re not finished yet — if the glasses don’t correct the problem, we may have to look at more dramatic remedies — but for the time being, Asher is noticeably happier with his crystal-clear view of the world. And so am I.

Meagan Patton-Paulson is Herald Connections Editor. Email her at mpatton@ottawaherald.com

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