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 »
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.
The original post is here.
Just a note about the site, they can only accept questions from Canadian IP addresses.
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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 »
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
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 »
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!
Posted in Appointments, Manulife Group Benefits, Penny | Tagged: eyedesigns, Flexon, Fusion Eyewear, glasses prescription, Hakim Optical, Marchon, Optiks International | Leave a Comment »
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…
Posted in Resources | Tagged: Eye Safety, Retinopathy, Sunglasses | Leave a Comment »
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.
- The first number in the eyeglass size is the distance across one lens of the eyeglass frame ( does not include the frame)
- 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)
- 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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