Carrots Make You Blind?!?!

and vegetables make you fat

8 Months Old and Wearing Glasses

Posted by themoneyfamily on September 3, 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on Penny’s glasses. She hasn’t been wearing them. Not very much anyway. Every once in a while, or when someone asks where her glasses are. We did manage to keep them on her for well over an hour when we saw my parents out at the lake. But she was being held and entertained for the whole time and that’s why we could get away with it. On my own, during the day it sometimes feels pointless. By the time I remember to put them on her, she’s getting tired and starting to rub her eyes. And when I do remember to put them on sooner, I need to be sitting right there with her so I can play with her to distract her.

Hmm, that makes me sound like I don’t play with Penny unless I have to. I don’t have to play with her very much. She’s very self sufficient, especially now that she’s mobile. I can put her down on the floor and she journeys from one end of the room to the other and back (16 times). She stops to play with whatever toys I happen to have put out today. She stops to play with Hershey’s toys (yes, I’m THAT parent who lets her play with dirty old dog toys). She plays with my shoes, and ends up with a filthy black face. We have a set of 2 portable phones, of which I’ve taken the battery out of one and given it to her as a toy. She plays with an old remote we’ve taken the batteries out of. She tries to play with daddy’s Xbox. She drums songs on the TV base with her feet. She plays with the strip of sunshine on the floor. She tries to crawl under the couch (it’s a good 8-10 inches off the floor). She tries to escape to Downthehall Land or Kitchenville every time I leave the gate open. We do play… she makes noises which I copy. She does funny things and then looks at me when I laugh. Then she smiles. We have our own way of playing, and it doesn’t usually involve me sitting on the floor, in her face, trying to keep her hands away from her glasses.

Anyway, we had an appointment at the ophthalmologist’s office yesterday. They dilated Penny’s eyes slightly, which they haven’t done since her very first appointment before her surgeries. It didn’t even faze her! Then they brought out the big guns. By which I mean that they used new tests to assess her vision which haven’t been used for her before. The only one I actually know the name of is the Teller Acuity Cards. These are long, rectangular cards in a lovely shade of gray. Somewhere on the card is a box with alternating stripes of white and another gray that is just about the same as the card. As they turn it towards Penny, they look to see that her eyes go to where the stripes are. The top cards in the rack start with wider stripes and get smaller as you work toward the bottom. The smallest stripe our orthoptist used was one Penny had trouble seeing. She couldn’t see the stripes as verticals, but when the lady turned the card sideways Penny could see them as horizontal. She also used a prism to force Penny to see double, and used a thick plastic card that had one selection on it in the foreground while everything else was in the background. I don’t think that one affected Penny at all yet.

Once the doctor checked her eyes, he determined a number of things:

  • Penny’s eyes have healed wonderfully!
  • She has NOT grown any membranes, and probably will not at this point. If memory serves me, there was like an 80% chance that she WOULD grow membranes and need them zapped out with a laser.
  • Her right pupil is very teardrop shaped. The point of the teardrop is almost to the edge of her iris. This will not be fixed until she is 8 or 9 years old and can sit still for a laser zap.
  • Her prescription either reverted to what her current lenses are, or they have not changed enough to warrant a new set of lenses until her next visit. But he anticipates needing a new one then.
  • Penny does not need to go back for another appointment until January!

When we go back for her next appointment, Penny will be a year old! How exciting! I wonder what assessment tools they will use then? Now I just need to put her glasses on a little more often, and convince her to keep them on a little bit longer.


Posted in Appointments, Observations, Penny | 1 Comment »

Finally, an answer!

Posted by themoneyfamily on July 21, 2009

When we first found out the Penny had cataracts, we realized that any future children we have face a 50% chance of having cataracts as well. I’ve been wondering if there’s anything I can do prior to or during pregnancy that would help lessen that risk – like taking any supplements or whatnot. I did mention it to our PO, who said nothing could be done. But it was the short answer, and I still wondered.

Recently I came across the Ask an Optometrist Blog from the Canadian Association of Optometrists. I submitted my question about preventing cataracts, and was honestly surprised to see an answer in my Google Reader feed today.

’m sorry to hear that your daughter has to suffer this condition. Congenital cataracts are almost always genetic in nature (meaning you are born with them). Because it is a mutation in the genes themselves, there is nothing that you did during pregnancy to cause them, and nothing you could have done to prevent them. It is certainly possible that children from future pregnancies would be affected as well, and there is unfortunately nothing you can do to prevent cataracts. The risk of the genetic mutation being passed on will depend on the inheritance pattern. You can certainly ask your family doctor for a referral to a genetic counsellor to give you an idea of what the chances are of children from future pregnancies developing cataracts.

That being said, cataract surgery is remarkably successful with low risk of complication. Once they are removed, your daughter will have to be followed regularly, but her visual prognosis is good. I hope this helps.

Dr. Donati

The original post is here.

Just a note about the site, they can only accept questions from Canadian IP addresses.

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Update on Penny’s New Glasses

Posted by themoneyfamily on July 10, 2009

We’ve had Penny’s glasses for just over 2 weeks now. I don’t know how many times I’ve said “Thank God for titanium frames!” She pulls them down and twists them around, and I think they’d be broken by now if they weren’t titanium. But they’re cute!

I didn’t realize that the last couple weeks we had her old glasses she kept pulling them off because of the prescription change. Once we got the new prescription and were waiting for her new glasses to come in, if I tried to put the old glasses on, she’d immediately pull them off again. I should have clued in that it was the 5 diopter difference in her prescription that was doing that! When I put her new glasses on now, she keeps them on.

I need to tighten one of the screws though. I’m not sure if that’s going to be something common or not. I used to have a pair of glasses that needed constant tightening.

As for Manulife covering her glasses, first we were told by Court’s HR department that they “regret to advise there aren’t any other provisions under our plan with regards to the vision expenses.” When I questioned if there was a way to appeal their decisions, we were told they “The policy specifically limits eyeglass coverage to $300 every two years per person. There is a medical expense tax credit when filing income tax that you may be able to claim these expenses under. There are certain minimum dollar or % criteria based on income etc. It would be best to speak to a tax accountant to explain in more detail.”

So, it sounds like a no-go with Manulife. But I didn’t know we could claim our glasses on the medical expense portion of our taxes! We’ll do that for this year’s taxes and see how well that works.

Posted in Manulife Group Benefits, Observations, Penny | 5 Comments »

I still don’t see a difference

Posted by themoneyfamily on June 24, 2009

We picked up Penny’s new glasses yesterday. And I still don’t see the difference when she has them on. I mean, I see that her eye stops wandering (thank God). And I see that while the glasses are in my hand, they’re a toy. I need to put them on her, distract her for a minute with a real toy, and then she forgets the glasses are there. Once she gets tired, she tries to rub her eyes, and the glasses end up getting pulled down. She can’t wear her glasses in the car. With her in the back seat and rear-facing, if she pulls them down, I can’t see or reach to fix it. She CAN wear her glasses to nurse, if we’re laying in bed to do it. If my arm is under her head, I’ll have to take them off. And when she’s laying on the floor on her back, for some reason her glasses push out so they’re not actually resting on her nose. I’m not sure what to do about that, but I do remember another mom mentioning that their child’s glasses did this…

She’s such a smart little girl, and I’m so happy to have her. Sometimes I put her glasses on just so that the world can see my little girl in glasses. We’re going swimming today, and you better believe she’s going to have her glasses on!

Second pair of glasses

Second pair of glasses

The new glasses are Marchon Flexon frames, which are memory titanium. There were these or another pair with a more rectangular shape. I actually like the rectangular shape better, but they were a size 40 and were too big. These are a size 39, and the shape is a little too big for her face, but everyone says they look better than her first pair of glasses. You can see the details on her glasses here.

I’m hoping we can submit these glasses to Manulife for reimbursement. Court’s HR department is talking to someone there about it, so cross fingers. It makes sense to me. Fork out a bit not to help fix Penny’s eyes, and then by the time she’s a teenager, like the doctor said, she maybe won’t need them anymore. Or, if they won’t cover them, we might have to wait longer to get new glasses sometimes (money doesn’t grow on trees, and her glasses are running in the $350 range right now), and this could harm her eyes and make it take longer to fix them. Logical? To me yes, to the company who pays up, who knows? We’ll see where this goes.

Posted in Manulife Group Benefits, Observations, Penny | 1 Comment »

Glasses by size

Posted by themoneyfamily on June 19, 2009

When looking for new glasses for Penny, I came across many websites, like Zenni Optical and the like, which carry many, many frames. The problem I found was having to go through each child’s frame to see if they were available in her size. I know some of you are having the same problem, because your searches bring you to this blog.

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a great site that remedies this problem. I can’t vouch for purchasing from them, as I haven’t done it. But you can definitely research your frames by size there. It is

Eye Size – Orange (First number on frames)
Obviously, the smaller the number, the smaller the glasses. Penny’s first glasses, at 11 weeks, were a size 36, but we ordered a size too big so she could grow into them. Now 5.5 months, her new pair are a size 39, and the 40’s were too big.

Bridge Size – Blue (Second number on frames)
Keep in mind that the bridge size is important if you get plastic frames, as these are not adjustable and do need to fit your child as is. But if you are getting frames with plastic nosepads, the bridge size isn’t as important.

Temple Size – Green (Third number on frames)
Also, the arm length isn’t as important (depending on the frames). In most cases, it can be cut shorter. If you are getting cable temples, I’d definitely recommend trying the frames on in person to make sure you have the right arm length. Sometimes cable temples are only a little bit adjustable.

Vertical Size – Red (not usually noted on the frames)
The vertical height of the frames is important in a couple of ways: if they are too small your child can look over the frames, and if they are too big the glasses will not look natural on your child. Miss Danielle at A Child’s Eyes says: “A child’s frame should fit right into the eye socket from top to bottom and not expand down the child’s cheek. If a child is allowed to wear a frame like this it will cause unnecessary weight on the nose. Not only will this be uncomfortable, but it will cause the frame to slip down the nose and result in poor vision for the child.”

If you know the Eye Size you need, click on the following sizes to see what has available in that size:
Size 32
Size 33
Size 34
Size 35
Size 36
Size 37
Size 38
Size 39
Size 40
Size 41
Size 42
Size 43
Size 44
Size 45
Size 46
Size 47

If you feel comfortable ordering online, feel free to order from Otherwise, note down the frame name and model and go to your local optician to try them on. Not all opticians will carry all of these. But sometimes they’ll be able to order them in for you.

Hopefully this helps you choose glasses for your child. If you do have any questions, please email me at nicolemarr at shaw dot ca, or visit the Resources page at for more help.

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Glasses ordered

Posted by themoneyfamily on June 18, 2009

Eyedesigns ordered in 2 different Marchon Flexon frames for us to try – one round shaped in a 39 width, the other sort of square shaped in a 40 width. I really like the way the square ones looked on Penny, but they were just too big for her. So, we ordered the round ones.

We still need to get high index lenses because one eye is 5.5 (by the way, it doesn’t matter if it’s plus or minus – the smaller the number, the better – for those who don’t wear glasses). And all of the glasses at eyedesigns come with anti-scratch coating (it’s built into the price).

On the plus side, they are really helping us out and gave us a discount because we needed to change prescriptions so quickly. It also means new frames though, because Penny is growing so quickly right now. So, to the tune of $358, we have ordered Penny a pair of titanium framed glasses.

Because the titanium frames twist, these will last longer size-wise. Even once they’re too small, she can wear them a big longer because the frames will bend out a bit to accommodate. Also, these have nosepads which can be adjusted to accommodate the bridge of her nose as it grows. The plastic frames were cute and all, but I don’t think they did so well for us.

I’m a little worried about keeping the new glasses on her face, because she seems to be really fighting the glasses right now. But, that could be because the one eye is so different than her new prescription. And trying on the new ones, they didn’t have any prescription so she wouldn’t like that either. Tip for parents of children in glasses: If your child starts fighting their glasses alot, get their prescription checked. It might have changed. Have you ever looked through someone’s glasses that weren’t yours? That’s how the little ones would feel with an old prescription.

We should get her new glasses early next week, and we’ll see how she does with them. Luckily the strap we got from Camille at Framehuggers will still work on her new ones (I tried in the store). Just have to convince her that glasses aren’t a toy. Like the phone isn’t a toy. And my hair isn’t a toy. And my rings on my necklace aren’t a toy…

(I will add a picture later this afternoon)

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Today’s Technology is Amazing!

Posted by themoneyfamily on June 11, 2009

Penny had an appointment today to get her prescription checked. I’ve been saying that her ophthalmologist believed the prescription would change by this appointment, and boy was he right! Her first glasses were +6.5 and +7.5 and now they are, get this… +2.5 and +5.5!!! Even the doctor was a little surprised.

I spent the day yesterday checking out other glasses stores, partly to see if anywhere had better selection than eyedesigns, and partly so I can do up some information sheets to put up at the vision clinic at the hospital. My findings so far:

  • Optiks International – down in McKenzie Towne in the old A&B Sound building at South Trail Crossing
    Great selection! Quite a few that would actually fit Penny, who is up to 39 or 40 for lens width. But I am specifically looking for memory titanium frames so that she can bend them and twist them and not break them. Optiks only had one line of titanium (Tommy Hilfiger no less) and none were small enough for her. The prices weren’t a huge difference from eyedesigns’, but they have a special on getting 2 pairs. If you don’t get the 2-pair special, you get 20% off the 1-pair. The gentleman I dealt with was very professional and knowledgeable, and dealt wonderfully with Penny. Once your kids get into about 43/44 size lenses, I would actually recommend going here for selection. They also have a lab on site and a really plush waiting area with leather couches and a big screen TV to watch (you need a big screen while you have no glasses and are waiting for them to be made HAHA!). They also have an optometrist on site. Dr. Winnicki if I remember correctly.
  • Hakim Optical – Chinook and Forest Lawn locations
    Very poor selection of children’s frames. Nothing that fit Penny at all. And I found that the one little wall of children’s frames had the same frames 2 or 3 times, or the same frames in 2 or 3 different colors. The lady I talked to at the Chinook location was wonderful and cheerful, if not quite so knowledgeable. The guy that appeared to be in charge didn’t seem to have time to answer her questions either, so I felt a little put out by asking if the cables on a pair of glasses could be made bigger. But, he did adjust Penny’s current glasses so they don’t dig into her temples quite so badly… The Forest Lawn location supposedly had more of a selection, but that’s where I saw the repeated frames. The 2 ladies were too busy cooing over what a cute little BOY I had to help really. Luckily my little BOY filled his diaper (which have been blowouts because we needed to buy the next size up), so I got to use the excuse and run.
  • Fusion Optical – 32nd Ave in the same parking lot as Safeway, the Salvation Army, Quiznos and Blockbuster
    Great lady there! Not a huge selection of kids glasses, but one cute little pink pair with cables that would fit Penny and she could do them for about $240 (versus $370 for Penny’s current pair, and these ones aren’t covered by Manulife at all). She did say she wouldn’t bother with scratch coating for kids this little because their prescription and/or frames change too often to get your money’s worth right now. I am waiting to see what kind of deal eyedesigns can offer me, and if I don’t like it I’ll go to Fusion.
  • eyedesigns – Varsity Drive by Planet Organic and Once Upon a Child (great for multitasking!)
    eyedesigns is ordering in 2 pairs of Marchon Flexon frames for us to see how they fit Penny. They are also going to do some sort of special deal for me because of having to buy new glasses so soon. We’ll see what happens there!

I also want to put up a list of websites like what I have on the right hand side here: Little Four Eyes, inconSPECuous, Specs4us, Framehuggers, etc. It would be a great support resource for parents there who don’t know what having a little kid in glasses entails. It might be alot of work, but hey… I’m on maternity leave and don’t exactly have alot of stuff to do!

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Random Vision-ness

Posted by themoneyfamily on May 26, 2009

I’ve been trying to join the Yahoo Group for PGCFA (Pediatric Glaucoma and Cataract Family Association. It keeps telling me that my email is not available to join it. WTF?

I’m trying to join because I’m looking for advice. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but I’d like to fight with Manulife Group Benefits to get them to cover Penny’s glasses every time we get them, not just $300 every 2 years. There is an article on the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus regarding this issue: Policy Statements: Aphakic Lenses. I’m not 100% sure, but it would seem to me if the child has intraocular lens implants, the glasses being aphakic wouldn’t apply, because the IOLs would be the aphakic lens and the glasses would be considered cosmetic? But if Penny is farsighted, and doesn’t wear glasses to help correct that, the chances of her having amblyopia are much higher. So both are aphakic? Argh! If anyone has any input on this matter it would be greatly appreciated!

Posted in Manulife Group Benefits, Observations | 2 Comments »

Posted by themoneyfamily on May 18, 2009

Definitely an interesting site.

Vision related articles:

I will add more as I find them…

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The Little Numbers on Your Glasses

Posted by themoneyfamily on May 16, 2009

For anyone who ever wondered what they mean, GeorgeB wrote this on the little four eyes blog:

Here’s a helpful tidbit that may help in deciphering the numbers on the frames.

The eyeglass numbers are usually written as: 49-19-135 or they might have small boxes between the numbers on the eyeglass frame.

  1. The first number in the eyeglass size is the distance across one lens of the eyeglass frame ( does not include the frame)
  2. The second number in the eyeglass size is the distance across the bridge on the eyeglass frame or sometimes refered to as the DBL(distance between lenses)
  3. The third number in the eyeglass size is the length of the temple(arm piece) from the front of the eyeglass frame to the end of the temple, which goes behind the ear.

you may also be asked for pupil distance..a measurement from one pupil center to another… measured in mm. A small ruler with cm and mm will help with this. It is needed to ensure the lens centers are in line with the pupils..

Always helpful to know!

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