Thursday, October 6, 2011
Back to Soft Lenses
We visited Chloe's Eye doctor today. And her Vision Therapist (VS), Linda, came with us. We spoke about the fact that Chloe is turning her head so that she appears to be using her left eye more but, after looking at her, Dr. Bloom still thinks she's finding her "null point." Sometimes people with Nystagmus (involuntary shaking of the eyes) can turn their head slightly until they find the sweet spot where their eyes calm down and they see better. That sweet spot is called the null point. So we're still not going to do any patching. And that's ok with me.
We also spoke about the fact that Chloe is losing lenses often. They fall out completely on their own without her rubbing them at all. In fact, Chloe's Early Intervention Specialist (EIS) witnessed one pop right out of her eye as we were sitting and playing. All she did was blink! The plan: we're going to try soft lenses again. My stomach is still a little queasy at the idea. The reason we switched from soft to hard lenses before was because we were losing too many soft lenses. Hard lenses supposedly stay put better. But both the doctor and vision center believe that we can get a better fit now that Chloe's older and bigger. It's a plan and we're willing to give it a shot. I've spent probably a good 5 hours on my hands and knees this past week looking for lenses (I'm NOT exaggerating). In fact, Chloe lost her third lens in a week 30 minutes before the VS and EIS arrived for a visit on Tuesday. I was so frustrated that I burst into tears when they arrived. That was slightly embarrassing, especially considering the fact that Chloe's new Occupational Therapist was with them. "Hi. Nice to meet you. I'm really not crazy. I promise." Fingers crossed on the soft lenses!
Otherwise, Chloe is doing great. We still don't know how well she can see. The good thing is that she compensates really really well. It's great that she has the ability to compensate without her vision. But you can see how it makes contact lens tracking difficult. Chloe's behavior doesn't change when she loses a contact. Heck, it doesn't even change when I take both of them out and before I can get her glasses on. She'll run off to play and I'm chasing her around saying, "Hey! Get back here little one! You can't even see!" You'd never know.
Her fine motor is improving. She loves looking at books and playing with her toys. We learned that balance is an issue with her and that's partly why she has no interest in stacking blocks and playing with small toys. So we put her in her little chair so that she's supported all around. And suddenly she was stacking and playing with blocks! She didn't have to worry about balancing herself so she could focus on what was in front of her. Amazing!
Chloe's VS is always complimenting me on how I interact with Chloe. She loves my frequent verbal cues and how I guide her with my words. I feel like I'm just talking to her the way any parent talks to a language-learning toddler. Maybe just a tad more since Linda once mentioned the importance of positioning words for vision-impaired children (in, out, up, down, on under). It's about body awareness and teaching them to know their place in their environment. But she is insistent. "I can really tell you work with her a lot, Cyndi." "Your verbal cues are so great." To the OT, "Cyndi is such a great parent. I show her a book one week and she's gone out and bought it by the next." I love hearing that, of course. But sometimes I don't even know what I've done to earn a sudden enthusiastic compliment. Today she said, "Cyndi, you should become a Vision Therapist. Your instinct is amazing. You have better instinct than most Vision Therapists I know." I'm writing this 1. to pat myself on the back in public; 2. so that Chloe will read this in the future and think I'm great. But also 3. because the seed is planted. And I know that's what Linda was doing. She keeps talking about retiring. The question is whether or not I feed and water it. Probably not...probably.