Thursday, June 5, 2008


It's official: Ainsley only has one good eye.

At her eye doctor visit Tuesday (during which a very scary storm passed over and tornado sirens sounded; just one of many times this week northern Kentucky has seen a storm with ominous rotation) we learned that she is quite farsighted in her left eye but has almost perfect vision in her right. Because her brain has been coping with the bad eye by turning it off, it has gotten weak and she currently has no depth perception or stereoscopic vision. Which would explain a lot in the way of her coordination and her talent for falling down.

The good news is that it was caught early enough to be treated. We have some spiffy glasses on order (for now only the left lens has power; her right is close enough to 20/20 that the doc decided to not add a prescription to that one just yet) that will look really cool on her except that they may make the left eye a little larger-looking than the right. In a month we go back to see how she has adjusted to the glasses, and we will probably start patching the good eye at that point: two hours a day, for three to six months. While patched, she will need to do things that will exercise the weak eye; reading, coloring, computer games, video games. Yes, my daughter will actually be "prescribed" video games for two hours a day. Who would've thunk it? Thank goodness for the Wii. Apparently the one thing video games are good for is working your eyes and helping your visual acuity.

The scary part of the news is that even with the new glasses and the improvement we'll see with patching, her left eye may only improve to 20/40 corrected vision. Right now, even with the prescription they have determined gives her the best vision, she's only at 20/60. It's possible that she could get to 20/30, but it's very rare for kids with amblyopia to get perfect vision in the weak eye even with their glasses or contacts. She will always be right-eye dominant. But at 20/40, her eyes will be able to work together as a team and she will get back her depth perception.

She of course is excited about glasses. She wanted to leave with them Tuesday and was very disappointed that the little pinkish-silver titanium frames weren't hers to keep. I hope that lasts, but I know from my own experience that the charm of having new glasses when you're a kid only lasts so long. We were told that, especially if they continue to decide she doesn't need a prescription lens for the right eye, contacts would be an option for her as early as 8. I personally can't see a child that young wearing contacts (I struggled with getting them in my eye when I was 13), but they sometimes prescribe them at that age if the kid has just one eye that needs refraction. We shall see how that goes...

It's not great news, but I know it could have been much worse.

So if you happen to see us this summer, make a big fuss over Ainsley and her new glasses (and the patch, too, if you happen to catch us at patch time.)

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