I'm linking up to The Paper Mama photo challenge. The theme this week is Eyes! I couldn't think of a better picture to submit. I love Alivia's hair pulled back this way; it really showcases those eyes of hers! Although the color of her eyes is gorgeous (hazel, like her daddy), something about this black & white just works!
Speaking of eyes, we've recently learned that Alivia has intermittent exotropia which is a form of strabismus. This is when one of the eyes acts independently from the other. In her case, her left eye drifts outward when looking at far away objects. When I first brought her in to see the Pediatric Ophthalmology Specialist at Children's Hospital in Boston, about 2 months ago, I was seeing her eye do this about 6 times a day. Recently, however, it has gotten increasingly worse. Now I was seeing it about 3-6 times an hour! Apparently, when the eye acts independently, it is not communicating with the brain. This is a scary thought! The eye becomes weaker and the vision starts to deteriorate. In absolute worse cases, the vision can be lost completely. When this happens, it is called amblyopia or lazy eye.
In my quest to find everything I absolutely could about intermittent exotropia, I found the following treatment options:
1. Eye patch. They cover the strong eye so that the person is forced to use the weaker eye in hopes to strengthen it. I can't imagine trying to patch my toddler's eye.
2. Glasses. Only for those that suffer some type of vision loss or deterioration.
3. Eye drops. This acts sort of the same as the eye patch although I hear it's only to treat amblyopia. I have to look into this more.
4. Eye muscle exercises. Try getting your toddler to do those!
5. Surgery. This will correct the muscle in the eye that is causing the eye to turn in or out. It isn't 100% affective and it's usually used as a last resort. I also found the following disturbing piece of information on http://www.strabismus.org/intermittent_exotropia.html
Treatment for intermittent exotropia does not have to occur immediately. Since the brain and eyes work properly some of the time, time is on your side. As a matter of fact, early surgery has the potential of disturbing the ability of the brain for fusion in the future and can cause a permanent reduction in vision (amblyopia).
So now I've come to the point where I'm thinking "okay it's time to treat this". No more taking the conservative route! I can't just sit back and watch it get worse. I feel like we were lucky to catch it so early as it gives us the opportunity to treat it before any vision loss were to occur. My hopes are to get her seen by the doctor this week.
In the meantime, I'm a worried mama. I'm saddened and afraid. What's worse too, is that Alivia rubs her eye which, to me, is a clear indicator that it is bothersome. Is it too much to ask for her to be healthy from head to toe? When I think that this is the worse possible thing that could happen, I don't have to look far to remind myself that there is worse out there. I just have to look across the room, at my husband, to remember the Cancer that he once fought. Heck, I could look in the mirror and remember the seizures that took control of my life at one point. It's really not as bad as it seems. I'm just emotional. Both her father and I are an emotional mess and rightfully so I would think.
Regardless of it all, I will be grateful to God and will continue to remind myself that this too shall pass.