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Archive for the ‘Observations’ 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.


Posted in Appointments, Observations, Penny | 1 Comment »

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 »

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 »

Head Straps

Posted by themoneyfamily on May 13, 2009

Last Tuesday we were wandering through the mall. I decided to finally stop at one of the eyeglass stores (Crown Optical) and see if they had anything to help keep Penny’s glasses up. I was looking for things that go on the nose, like I’ve seen in some other kids’ pictures, or different ones that I’ve been told about. All they had was a plain old sport strap – although it can be resized to actually fit Penny’s little head (even Baby Banz are too big for her head and can’t be resized any smaller). We set it up and put it on. It worked – sort of. It had to stay further up on her head to work properly, and it kept slipping from there. But I figured working some of the time is better than not working at all. And if I could find a way to help her breath while keeping her glasses up, then I’d probably keep her glasses on more.

Well, come Wednesday morning, we received a package in the mail. Camille from Framehuggers is working on a new strap for kids glasses. I spoke to her a couple of weeks ago about it, and got her some measurements for Penny. She hadn’t made one sized for babies, but didn’t see why she shouldn’t. So, we got Penny’s new strap in the mail to try out for Camille. It’s cute, and soft, and pink. And it works! It actually hooks on the big letter C behind Penny’s ears, which is flexible. Because of that flexibility, I don’t feel so bad putting a strap on her. I mean, it’s not rigid and digging into her head. There’s room for a bit of movement if the current position isn’t quite comfortable enough.

I wrote to Camille yesterday to give her some feedback, not seeing very much room for improvement. She’s thought of everything – even putting the prickly side of the velcro facing out so it doesn’t irritate Penny’s head. So, we’re helping her evaluate them, and once she starts producing them for sale, I strongly recommend that everyone who needs one gets one!

See how far Penny's glasses slide down her nose?

See how far Penny's glasses slide down her nose?

See how much better this looks? No more problems breathing with glasses on!

See how much better this looks? No more problems breathing with glasses on!

Posted in Observations, Penny | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments »

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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Crossing Eyes

Posted by themoneyfamily on April 18, 2009

Well, Penny’s been in her glasses almost 2 weeks. We get alot of comments, mostly saying that she is so cute with them. More often than not I get asked how we knew she needs glasses. Most of them time I get comments on today’s technology and being able to a) tell that a 3 month old needs glasses; b) that they can correctly guess the prescription; and c) that they can surgically correct problems like Penny’s cataracts when she is this little. Every once in a while I get a person that just completely accepts that Penny has glasses – doesn’t ask about them or why she has them.

I am getting better with keeping her glasses on. I usually take them off to feed her, since I am breastfeeding. I have heard it is possible to nurse with the glasses on, but I find the frames end up digging into her temples while she’s nursing, so I take them off. If she happens to fall asleep with them on, I just leave them on. If she is sleeping without glasses, my intention is to put them on when she wakes up. Sometimes I get distracted and forget for a little while though.

Unfortunately I’m starting to see something else wrong with Penny’s eyes. I’ll find out for sure when we have her appointment on the 29th. It looks like Penny’s left eye is turning in a bit. It’s like crossed eyes, except her right eye still looks straight. The condition is called strabismus. Generally it happens when one eye is stronger than the other. The stronger eye takes over all of the vision-processing and takes the load off the weaker eye. So the weaker eye kind of falls out of alignment because it’s not being used as much. We had hoped that this wouldn’t happen because we caught her cataracts so early. I believe there is a surgery that can be done on the muscles of her eye, but other than that we would probably have to patch. Patching is not fun. Court had to patch his eye when he was little. Patching involves reducing vision in the stronger eye to make the weaker eye work harder. This can be done with adhesive patches, or with a black contact, or with some sort of soft patch that covers the lens of their glasses (this one apparently doesn’t work as well because the child can still look around the frame of the glasses to see). If patching is “prescribed”, the ophthamologist will tell us to patch Penny’s stronger eye for a certain number of hours a day.

I’m also a member of and follow a blog called Little Four Eyes. Both have members and followers that have to patch their childrens’ eyes and talk about the trials and tribulations of successful patching. Especially with younger children, it is beyond difficult to get the child to leave the patch on. They have many activities, games, reward systems and advice to helping a child who needs to patch. One of the other ladies there has a daughter that was in glasses at 2 months of age for having a cataract as well. She is currently using a black occluding contact lens for her little girl because the adhesive patches were not working for them and were irritating the skin around her eye. So many parents there that are facing the same issues as us… it is a big help, a great community to be a part of. I don’t feel guilty for Penny having cataracts or needing surgery and glasses or potentially needing patching. But I do regret the amount of teasing and comments and looks and questions she will get if we have to patch her. That is my feeling bad for Penny side. Feeling bad for me is questioning if Court and I should have any more children, knowing that there is a 50% chance another child would be born with cataracts and face this whole ordeal again. I want children… as in plural… as in more than one. Can I be the next “18 Kids and Counting”? I’ve wanted kids since I was 17 (just wasn’t stupid enough to go out and get them). I had the greatest pregnancy. Like my body and my mind is meant for having kids. So it hurts, actually cuts at my heart to question if we should have more, or just stop at Penny…

Posted in Observations, Penny | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

14-weeks and Wearing Glasses!

Posted by themoneyfamily on April 13, 2009

Penny's Glasses

Well, it’s been almost a week with Penny wearing glasses. They’re cute, and they’re blue. Everyone at Once Upon a Child commented on how absolutely precious she is. Most other people do a double-take, and ask if she’s wearing glasses. Um, last time I checked, that’s what glasses looked like… I know it’s a bit of a shock to see someone so little (24″ and 11.1 lbs at last check) wearing glasses, and I know we’re going to get lots of comments, but use some common sense people! If they walk like glasses, and they talk like glasses… they must be glasses!

Penny doesn’t seem to mind them too much. She likes to shove her hands in her mouth – both at the same time of course. Then smear the drooly digits across her nice clean lenses. I know they’re clean, because I clean them about 6 times a day right now. The inside of the lenses are fine, but the outside looks like doggy nose art on your car window.

I haven’t had them on her all the time yet. They should be… and I’ll really have to force myself to keep up with them. But right now they’re a little too big for her and keep sliding down her nose. Then they pinch it and she can’t breathe and starts wheezing. I feel so bad when that happens! And if I push them up and it keeps happening, I feel so bad I take her glasses off. I know that doesn’t help. She needs to have them on to be able to see properly, and I’m not doing any favors by taking them off. I’m hoping to find something to help keep them up for now, until she grows into them. I have a couple of strips of fabric band-aids on the inside nose of her frames right now. At least that gives it a little bit of friction to keep them from sliding too often. I’ve heard we can get some sort of foam pads to help, or we could try the elastic strap (we can even get a floating neoprene strap for out at the lake!). I’m planning to look for something today or tomorrow, and then maybe I can force myself to keep Penny’s glasses on.

Posted in Observations, Penny | Tagged: | 3 Comments »


Posted by themoneyfamily on April 6, 2009

I had previously mentioned that I was worried Penny would be developmentally delayed because of not being able to see what’s right in front of her. Wow, was I ever wrong!

On Friday, at 12 weeks old, Penny surprised the heck out of me and rolled over. And not only did she roll over, she rolled from her back to her front! Later that day she also unexpectedly rolled from her front to her back… 3 times! The last times I had put her on her tummy, she would barely lift her head off the floor, and would only do that a couple of times before putting her head down and staying there. Now I put her down, and her head is at a good 45 degrees. The book I have on baby’s development says that some babies MIGHT be able to roll over at 3 months (front to back), and most babies should be able to roll from back to front by 5 months of age. So I am absolutely floored that she has rolled both directions!

Rather than being delayed, Penny appears to be a bit ahead of the curve. I am glad for that.

I also got a call this afternoon, and Penny’s glasses are in! We’re going to pick them up tomorrow, so check back soon to see how she’s getting on with them.

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Trying on Glasses

Posted by themoneyfamily on March 27, 2009

Trying on glasses for the first time

Trying on glasses for the first time

We went to eyedesigns this afternoon to check out glasses for Penny. We tried a metal-rimmed frame with arms that were too big, just to get an idea of how they fit her face. I really didn’t like the idea of wearing those just yet, because they have nosepads that need adjusting, and while they might be flexible to some extent…I just don’t trust them. Penny is going to be moving around alot more pretty soon and we don’t need to be getting her glasses adjusted every time she mashes her face into the floor doing tummy time.

We also tried a pair of Disney Pooh glasses, which hook behind her ears. I didn’t think ones that hook behind the ears would work on someone so little – we’d probably need ones with a strap behind her head. But when we tried these ones on she didn’t try to get them off or anything. So, $370 later, we’d ordered blue frames with warranty and high index lenses. Of course, every employee there had to come over and check out their “youngest patient ever”, and see just how cute Penny was in glasses.
Her glasses are expected to take about 2 weeks to come in. I’m impatient knowing that tummy time is hard when she can’t see what’s right in front of her. I don’t want her to be delayed developmentally because of not being able to see.

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