Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Getting Used to New Eyes - updated with pictures

Chloe has been doing really well the past few weeks since her Strabismus surgery. We had a visit from her Physical Therapist, Vision Therapist, and Early Intervention Specialist on Thursday.

Chloe's PT, Lois, arrived first and Chloe showed off the way she walks behind her little car walker. Lois was impressed with Chloe's new skills and noted that her balance and posture seem better since her last visit (before surgery). She said to practice the little walker every once in a while and just let Chloe explore and have fun.

Look at her go!

It's nice to see the therapists. They only see Chloe once or twice a month and are trained to notice changes. They get really excited when I tell them all the cool and new things Chloe is doing. Even if I don't feel like I have a lot to report, listing everything out at once reminds me that she really has made progress.

Chloe's Vision Therapist, Linda, was blown away at how different Chloe looks after surgery. She noted
-that Chloe is no longer tilting her head,
-that she seems to move around better,
-she's looking at pages in her black and white book that she previously ignored (because she couldn't see them well),
-she notices the TV more and will even watch a cartoon with Solana,
-she's eating better (grilled cheese and peanut butter sandwiches, scrambled egg, french toast, mashed vs. pureed foods),
-she'll lay down and hold her bottle all by herself,

-she's kissing her dolls,

-she's imitating gestures/words more frequently
Linda attributes all of these things to Chloe's improved vision. At first it seemed to me like a bit of a stretch but I now think there's something to that. Chloe would be taking these little steps eventually but she does seem to have made several of them in a short period of time.

Chloe's left eye is her bad eye. ROP affected this eye the worst as a newborn and the laser surgery was most extensive on this eye. The heat from the laser caused a cataract. After her first cataract surgery the cataract returned so she had to have a second cataract surgery. She most recently had a muscle surgery to try and straighten the eye.

Although we've always worried about her left eye Linda mentioned to me that we need to pay close attention to how Chloe uses both eyes because sometimes kids can switch after surgery - meaning, the previous bad eye will become the dominant eye. This makes me nervous because, when Chloe is wearing her contact and no glasses she is definitely preferring her left eye. She no longer tilts her head but she will turn it to the side so that she looks at things with one eye. Sometimes people comment that she's looking at them suspiciously but really she's just using the left eye to look at them. I can think of three reasons for this turn of events:
1. Her right eye is slightly nearsighted. When wearing only a left contact there is no correction at all on her right eye. So maybe the vision in her left eye has gotten SO good that it's even better than her slightly nearsighted right eye.
2. We over-patched her right eye before the surgery and began suppressing its ability to work. 3. She's experiencing the post-strabismus surgery switch that Linda mentioned. Personally, I'd prefer the reason to be number 1. We also noticed that, when wearing just her glasses Chloe looks at things straight on. Meaning, she's using both eyes equally. This leads us to believe that #1 is really happening because her left eye sees better through her contact and her right eye sees better through her glasses.

Here are some pictures from Mother's Day. You can really see that Chloe's only using her left eye.

We've decided to try something new. We had a second set of glasses made for Chloe to wear over her contact. This one has only a little bifocal in the left lens. Otherwise it's just clear glass. The right eye has her normal RX. If she wears her contact AND these new glasses then she'll have the best possible vision in both eyes. We hope to see her looking at things straight on. Today is the first day in her new glasses. Fingers crossed.

Now I just need to stop her from ripping them off and feeding them to our 10 month-old Aussie puppy, Monty. And here's what our dogs look like when they're playing. Monty, the puppy, is the scary looking one. Still frame definitely makes him look more vicious than he really is...


carol anne said...

How nice to have someone to say great things about Chloe on a regular basis!

Good luck with the glasses -- I know what kind of struggle that may be!

The Hillbergs said...

Well, I for one, am glad you added the pictures! I mean, really! jk

But with the glasses -- keep it up! Keep tweaking things until you get Chloe in the right eyewear! Babies have the most amazing brains! She's so young, I bet with you on top of things, she'll have pretty decent eyesight by the time she's older! And who knows what sorts of eye procedures they'll have in the future when she's like, 30! I mean, with all the flying cars and laser guns - the future is sure to have all sorts of great medical advances!

Megan B ♥ said...

Such great changes for her! She is getting so big, and the picture of her lounging in the boppy, drinking her bottle all by herself is so cute!