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Archive for the ‘Appointments’ Category

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.


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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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Eyes Turning Out… A Little

Posted by themoneyfamily on April 27, 2009

We saw the ophthamologist this afternoon. I brought up the I thought Penny might be a little cross-eyed at times. The problem is, I can’t remember if that’s with her glasses on or not. But it happens with both eyes, just at different times. The good news is that as long as both eyes do it at different times (and not one eye doing it all the time, or even both all the time), it means it’s just a developmental thing. Her eyes are still growing and learning how to work together. Plus, they actually noticed her eyes turning out a bit. A little bit. A smidge. Hardly worth mentioning. Her doctor thinks it’s such a small amount that it’s just developmental too, and will go away on its own. And even if it doesn’t, it’s such a minor surgery to fix that Penny won’t even notice it. He said her cataract surgery was way worse.

So, all in all, Penny is doing great! Her doctor loves seeing her, and she always seems to make his day. We go back in 6-8 weeks (June 11 I believe), and he expects her prescription will have dropped a bit by then. Yay for better vision! Not yay for needing new lenses! But I suppose that every prescription change Penny gets will mean her vision is getting a little better. And in the end that’s all that matters, isn’t it? I bet, by the time when I was just getting glasses (8 years old), Penny will be seeing better than I ever did or ever will.

She is just too cute in her glasses! Everyone tells her so… not that we don’t already know it. We entered a picture of her into the Children’s Eye Foundation photo contest for their calender for 2010. If you wouldn’t mind voting for it, go here. If you don’t know what Penny looks like, the picture is titled “Penny’s Beautiful Eyes”. Last time I checked there was only 48 other pictures with more votes than hers! Haha.

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Posted by themoneyfamily on March 27, 2009

We saw the doctor again on the 24th. Penny’s eyes have healed great, and she has no membranes. The doc had said there was a 70-80% chance of these membranes growing and they’d need another surgery to get rid of. So yay Penny! Her left eye is still a little bit swollen, but nothing to worry about.

I can’t even imagine what Penny sees. I got my first pair of glasses when I was 8 years old, and I’m nearsighted. With the lens implants the doctor put in, he’s purposely made Penny farsighted. I don’t know what farsighted looks like, except in theory. I know with nearsightedness, what’s far away is blurry and what’s close up is clear. It’s obviously the opposite for farsightedness. But I can’t understand the concept of looking at something right in front of me and not being able to see it.

Knowing that Penny can’t see what’s right in front of her helps. I can’t get my face right up to hers and expect her to see me. I have to lean back a little. And I do see the difference. If I’m too close to her, she won’t look at me or focus on me. When I back up, I get the most beautiful smiles!

But it’s also made me wonder how this will affect her development. She is supposed to be spending I think half an hour a day on her tummy. This is to strengthen her back and neck muscles and prepare her for rolling over and crawling. She hates it! I’m able to do a minute here and a minute there. And it shows… she has a bit of a flat spot on the back of her head from laying down on her back too much. What the “experts” suggest to do tummy time is to place a mirror or a brightly colored toy in front of them when they’re on their tummy. Doing this won’t work with her, because being farsighted means she can’t see things that close to her. So will this mean it takes her longer to roll over or start crawling? Time will tell… or I will in my next post (since I’m actually posting this in April because I forgot to in March).

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Post Surgery Checkup #2

Posted by themoneyfamily on March 25, 2009

We went back to the hospital yesterday for a second post-surgery checkup. Penny’s left eye is still a little bit swollen, but nothing to worry about. And when they used a light-up toy to get her attention and see if she can track in all directions, she did great! We got a prescription for her glasses… +6.5 in one eye and +7.5 in the other. The doctor said once we put the glasses on her and she sees the difference, she’ll want to have them on all the time. I don’t think it will be that easy, but we’ll see what happens.

Sometime this week I want to go look at glasses for her. They might have to be ordered in, so I want to get started on it soon.

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Surgery #2 – Left Eye Cataract Removal

Posted by themoneyfamily on March 14, 2009

Penny had surgery again yesterday, at the tender age of 9.5 weeks old. They removed the cataract in her left eye, which was the less obstructing of the 2. The doctor thought this one would be easier because of that, but apparently it wasn’t any easier.

I called the hospital on Thursday to get Penny’s surgery time for yesterday. The nurse I spoke to told me 11:20am for surgery, be there at 8, and stop feeding her at 5:30am. I was panicked about that! You can’t make a 9 week old baby wait 6 hours (plus surgery and recovery time) to eat. I expressed my concern (to put it mildly), and the nurse put me on hold to check with the unit nurse. Between them, they decided that 5:30 was the correct time. I explained that last week she only had to go 4 hours without food, not 6. So the nurse started running through the times again for this week. Well…her actual surgery time was 9:40 NOT 11:20! No wonder that seemed like a long time to go without food. Glad we got that straightened out.


Borg transformation 34% complete

Everything went pretty much the same as last time, except the nurses didn’t carry Penny out again. She came back in her crib, but was totally bundled up in blankets and seemed very comfortable. Well, she was sleeping and pretty much stayed that way till we left at 2:30 or 3. She did eat a little when I would hold the bottle up to her lips. Every once in a while she’d let me put it in, take 3 or 4 swallows, then spit it out again. But she ate, she kept it down, and she had a wet diaper – all the things they look for before you can go home. Her oxygen level would only drop this time when she was eating (gulp, gulp, gulp…oh yeah…BREATHE!). I actually thought to write down what drops she got this time, although I’m not sure what they do: Cyclopentolate hydrochloride, Phenylephrine hydrochloride, and Ciprofloxacin (I know that’s an antibiotic).


Sweet sleepy Penny

While we were there, we met another family in for day surgery (poor little guy). Turns out Mom is an optometrist, and recommended a friend of hers for Penny’s glasses when we get them. I mean…Lenscrafters might have kids’ glasses, but I have yet to find anyone who carried BABY glasses. Apparently there’s 2 major manufacturers… Solo Bambini and Miraflex. I just need to find someone in town that carries them. And this guy might, because he only does kids and babies. So, that’s good news for whenever the doc decides she’s ready for them.


Daddy and Penny with matching orange toques. She's definitely going to be Daddy's Little Girl!

We stopped in at the hospital this morning for the doctor to take off Penny’s patch and see how well she’s healing. Looks great again, but drops and ointment to do for a few days. During the surgery, the doctor checked the first eye to see how well it was doing and told us it looks “frickin awesome”! We’ll go back on Tuesday for a follow-up, and go from there, but probably start glasses when she’s around 4 months old.

Yay for Penny being able to SEE! She’s such a strong girl, and so happy and easy-going. If she weren’t as calm as she is about everything, I don’t know how Court and I would have been able to get through this.

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Post-Surgery Checkup

Posted by themoneyfamily on March 5, 2009

This morning, three days after Penny’s surgery, we went in to see the ophthalmologist so see how she is healing. He told us it is heart breaking to have to perform surgery on someone so little, with her eyeballs so soft. But after examining her eye, he said it’s heart lifting to see her looking around and following his light. He is as pleased with her progress as I am, and indicates that it will get even better once her left eye is done as well.

I don’t wish her to have to go through the surgery again, but after seeing how she handled the first one I know she’ll be fine. And I am excited about how much better her life will be when she’s able to see.

In the meantime, I am looking into glasses for her, since the doctor said we’d get her in glasses in about a month. I don’t imagine many places carry frames for babies as young as her, so I’d like to find out now where we can get them, and if necessary order them so they’re in once we get a prescription.

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The discovery

Posted by themoneyfamily on March 3, 2009

On Thursday, February 12, 2009, I was at the computer with Penny on my lap. I just happened to have the light at the right angle to notice that her left pupil looked cloudy. I knew Court had been born with cataracts, but I didn’t know what cataracts looked like. I called Court to ask him if it could be cataracts, and he thought it might be. He suggested we talk to our family doctor the next week when I had my 6 week follow up after Penny’s birth.

I couldn’t wait that long, and called my optometrist to see if he could check her. They got us in first thing the next morning, and confirmed that she had a cataract in her left eye. They were trying to call the Children’s Hospital to put in a referral for us, but the vision clinic wasn’t open that early. Penny and I went home anticipating a call later that day to make an appointment at the vision clinic.

At 10:30, I had the car running to warm up so we could go to the library. The vision clinic called and asked if I could make it in that day. Then asked if I could come in right away. Not a problem, since I’m on maternity leave.

The ophthamologist was on call that day for emergencies, and Penny was considered an emergency. Her eyes hadn’t developed yet, nor had the muscles controlling them. It was vitally important that we get the cataract out as soon as possible so we could get her eyes back on track growing properly, and before extra surgeries would be needed to fix what growing had already happened. We got in to see him right away, and he not only confirmed the cataract but told us Penny also had one in her right eye and that the right eye was actually worse.

We were scheduled for surgeries on March 2nd and March 13th.

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