Sunday, September 20, 2009


Here is Nora in her new glasses! Doesn't she look adorable?

One week ago, last Sunday, Nora was playing on the computer and Kevin noticed she was covering one eye. When she took her hand away, that eye was crossed. I have absolutely terrible vision (-1150 in both eyes!), so I figured at least one girl would need glasses at some point. So I called the eye doctor on Monday morning and got her in that afternoon.

We were there for almost 3 hours! She had her eyes dilated, and four different people examined her, including two MDs. They were trying to figure out why, all of a sudden, her eye was wandering. Finally, around 5:45pm, the doctor told us that Nora's eyes are healthy, and she doesn't have cataracts, tumors, damage, or anything else that would cause her eye to wander. Relief! Except that she took a breath and continued to speak. She told us that it meant the problem was behind her eyes. In her brain. She asked who Nora's doctor is, and said she would call the doctor on call to get Nora in for an MRI immediately. She also said she would call the only pediatric eye doctor in town in the morning to get her in with him ASAP.

Needless to say, we left feeling absolutely terrified. We didn't want Nora to be worried, so we didn't tell her anything. We figured there was no point in scaring her when we didn't really know anything yet. Meanwhile, visions of brain tumors, aneurysms, strokes and brain swelling paraded through our worried heads. It was the worst night we have ever spent.

The doctor called at 8:00 Tuesday morning. She said the pediatric doctor is out of the office for a few weeks (!) and she wasn't comfortable waiting that long. So we went back up to the eye clinic, where we spent 3 hours and 4 exams. Finally, MY eye doctor came in and checked Nora out. She did a test nobody else had done, and gave us the best news ever: "I have seen this in kids before. She just has a really bad astigmatism! It's nothing scary at all."

Apparently kids are really good at focusing and can trick eye tests. So astigmatism is hard to diagnose.

Apparently Nora's brain and eyes compensated her bad vision for a long time, but it finally gave up. It stopped paying attention to signals from her bad eye. That's why it started doing its own thing. So we have to patch her good eye whenever she isn't at school. We have to force her brain to pay attention to the bad eye again. Otherwise she might lose vision in it.

Nora had selected fancy purple frames in the waiting room, but the doctor told us she has to wear big, round Harry Potter glasses for a while. Otherwise she will try to peek over the tops of her glasses. The point is to make her look through the center of the lens. Her lens is only half strength while she gets used to it. The full strength lens will go in in mid-October.

I know that was a long story. I figured it was easier to write it all out here than to try to explain it to everyone, one at a time. It's a hard story to tell.

Here's Nora in one of her patches. Our friend Kim gave us 2 of her daughter's patches. Mary wore a patch for 3 years and is all done now, and she had a couple laying around still. They are much better than the stick on, bandage-style that we would have used otherwise.

So far things are going OK. She doesn't want to wear the patch-it's hard to see out of her one bad eye. We are hoping that gets better when they put in the full-strength lens. Some kids only need to be patched for a few weeks, and we keep reminding her of this. She also knows she can earn the right to wear the purple glasses if she wears her glasses all the time and keeps the patch on when she isn't at school.

The doctor also said there's a chance she won't have to wear glasses forever. We might be able to fix this vision problem simply by strengthening her eye muscles. Keep your fingers crossed!

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