First, if you unfamiliar with Alivia’s Intermittent Exotropia, you can find some previous posts I’ve published about it HERE.
It’ll be about two months that we’ve been patching Livvy’s strong eye to treat her Intermittent Exotropia and she’s been tolerating it fabulously! We started out with around 25 – 30 minutes and are currently patching for about an hour now! When I first started patching I was noticing her eye deviate a lot less. At around the month and a half mark, however, I started to see it deviating more frequently. Not quite as frequent as when we weren’t patching at all but never the less, more frequent. In the beginning I was hopeful that the patch was going to be a successful treatment but now I’m not so sure.
I took Alivia to her follow-up Ophthalmologist appointment at Children’s Hospital today and was anxious to report the news to her doctor. I had been anticipating what the doctor’s feedback may be. Apparently the patch is exercising her vision more than the actual deviation. Since I was particularly worried about vision loss (not that she had experienced any thus far so we think), this was extremely good news! The doctor explained it to me this way:
Say, for example, her eye is deviating for an hour (in total) a day. Patching the strong eye for an hour forces her to use the vision in the weaker one for an hour more than her unaffected eye. It just evens things out a bit.
As for the deviation, the doctor mentioned that patch study findings had mixed results. Some parents were finding the patch either helped the deviation, didn’t make a difference, or made it worse. In some cases, patching the stronger eye can weaken it causing a deviation in that eye as well.
Since Alivia is still too young and uncooperative with taking the eye tests, her doctor is unable to measure the amount of deviation the eye is actually doing. With that said, she doesn’t recommend eye muscle surgery (which is only 70% effective anyway) in fear of over correcting the eye muscle. When this happens, the eye can deviate inward (cross eye) causing her binocular vision and depth perception to suffer. The doctor’s instructions were to keep patching an hour a night (assuming I don’t see any deviations in her strong eye) and to follow-up with her in a few months. Our next appointment is in October. I’m sure I’ll have another update for you then.
In the meantime, I remain hopeful that the patch is at the very least saving her vision which, let’s face it, is HUGE! I just want my baby’s beautiful eyes to work as they should. I also keep reminding myself that she could have a lot worse things and I’m grateful to God every day that she doesn’t. My family is blessed!
On a more important note, I have to leave you with some pictures. These were taken at my niece’s sixteenth birthday party at her house. Unfortunately, my sister’s family doesn’t care to be posted online so I’m going to have to bore you with the same ol’ subject, ALIVIA! Nah, I’m just kidding! I know you don’t think she’s boring or you wouldn’t keep coming back right? I mixed it up a little with pictures of my mom and step-dad. I even decided to post one with my sister in it but only because you don’t really see her face (and I’ve posted similar pictures in the past).
This next shot is one of my favorites!
It’s all about that smile!
And look at the major wrinkle of the nose!
I just have to link it up…