Denton was born at 29 weeks gestation, 11 weeks too soon. Our second premature son. Due to eyes fully developing at week 32 we had to see a pediatric opthamologist for ROP. Thankfully we were clear and free of ROP. At 6 months old my husband was the first to notice my son’s right eye wandering out. He was past the newborn crossing and had been aligned. I noticed the next day and it really made me nervous. Luckily we already had an opthamologist. I called them without even calling our pediatrician. I went right to who I needed to. After explaining his history and what we were currently noticing they wanted us to get right in. I wasn’t to concerned. Honestly we assumed it was weak muscles that would need some therapy. We go to our appt, the doc is looking, shining lights, dilating his eyes, calls in a nurse, they begin whisper and talking amongst themselves. He finally share, “well his muscles look good and strong…he’s got a unilateral cataract.”…. WHAT!!?!! Who in the world has heard of a child, young adult, none the less and infant with a cataract. He explained more that he had prosteriois lenticonous, a cone shape at the back of his eye, which caused the cataract. I repeat WHAT?!
He then wanted to send us to one of his partners who specializes in cataracts. We had our next appt and left with our first patch. He confirmed all we learned the day before. Thus began our journey of patching. He wanted to hold off surgery as long as we could. Patching started off a breeze, truly. We had months of my son not fighting the patch. Then almost over night the battle began. We contacted our doctor per his request, went in and he tells us the cataract had doubled in size. Time for surgery. After 2 failed surgery dates due to crudy winter germs and getting sick we finally had our cataract removed and new lens placed 10 months old, 4 months after discovering the cataract. Then came the part I had dreaded the most since finding the cataract, glasses. I was able to handle surgery well in my mind. I knew if he didn’t have it he’d loose vision in that eye. By no means did I want him to have to have surgery but it made sense to my heart. Now the glasses, I struggled with. I know it’s so vain and shallow of me I know. I love his little face without glasses. One of the thoughts that kept coming to my mind was how different people look once they get contacts or LASIK. It would make sense that the opposite getting glasses, would do the same, make him look so different. Along with that the struggle to keep them on, sports, wrestling with his brother, etc etc etc about glasses.
We did have the option of a contact but between my husband and I and our doctor we didn’t want to have to deal with that. So glasses it was. I must say, 1 1/2 years into glasses I do still prefer his little glasses free face. But I do not hate the glasses, they’re him. Honestly he’s done well with his glasses alone. When he was mad and throwing a tantrum and in the car they would come off Fast! Now, he keeps them on most of the time.
Patching has been a different story. We have been patching for 1/2 of his awake time. There have been some times that were horrible and exhausting. Thankfully there’s a true reason he needs it our I may caved. From the beginning our doctor told us we can’t feel sorry for him so much to not make him patch. I’ve kept that locked away. A couple of things we’ve tried to keep the patch on are: swim floaties and arm restraints. The floaties worked great, until his arms got longer and he could reach his eyes. A friend of mine is a nurse at the children’s hospital and suggested the arm restraints. They use them to keep kiddos from pulling iv’s out. Bingo! They were our answer. He HATED them! He would eventually calm down and carry on with playing. And the patch stayed on!! He got old enough where I could reason with him and say, “if you don’t leave your patch on I’ll have to put your arms (restraints) on.” Now, nearly 2 years into patching most days we can get a straight 4-5 hours of patching, most days. The prescription in his glasses has been changed 3 times. At this time his eye struggles to stay aligned when not patched. That’s what we’re working on at the present. All in all, my son has vision in both eyes and we are very grateful for that!!