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the eric update - day 317: yet another eye exam. or the unexpected, lingering effects of retinopathy of prematurity.

ironically, we were encouraged by the clinic staff to not book this eye exam considering how positive the results were from our unexpected exam less than two months ago, unless - of course - we suspected that something was wrong. and we almost did skip it, since neither of us has spent much time thinking about odin's eyes since our opthamalogic emergency that wasn't.

and while it's certainly not a dire emergency of the life threatening sort, today we learned that we might not have fully escaped the lingering effects of retinopathy of prematurity; it seems that in two months odin's eyesight has gone from slight farsightedness which is normal for an infant to slight nearsightedness which is not. for the numerically inclined, he's gone from a +2 on the farsighted scale to a -1.25 on the nearsighted index, which is obviously a shift of 3 units in a very short period of time.

will his sight shift another 3 units in the "wrong" direction, indicating legal blindness in another 60 days? statistics indicate that it's not highly likely, but it's not unlikely enough to be considered improbable. will his eyes spontaneously go back to "normal"? almost certainly not. unfortunately, most often it's a one way trip to progressively worsening nearsightedness in cases such as odin's.

in reality, all we can do is wait and, er, see what happens since nobody can predict how quickly, or even if, his eyesight will continue to deteriorate. and, in an almost amusing twist, we've been given the worse possible advice to give parents with our temperment - watch him closely for "abnormal" signs. if you watch any baby closely enough for long enough, you can convince yourself that everything is abnormal.

in any case, and in all seriousness, we're supposed to stay particularly attuned to whether or not he's crossing his eyes since that means that one eye is getting progressively worse at a faster rate than the other eye. and if one eye is worse than another, the brain can quickly decide to shut down the signals from the "bad" eye which is not something you want in a brain that's forming new neuronal connections. so, as long as both eyes are equally nearsighted then odin could measure an astonishing -8 or -9 before glasses or corrective measures would be considered because, well, it's almost impossible to keep glasses on a 10 month old. but, if the eyes are differentially affected, then we would probably need to start looking at different therapeutic options to help prevent the brain from shutting things down.

that's right. it's possible that we could have the pleasure of trying to figure out how to keep an eye patch on an infant. aaarrrrggggghh, matey!

but we'll cross that bridge, or plank, when we and if we get there. and for now, we'll be happy to simply watch odin investigate the plastic wrap on his exam chair and marvel at how quickly the chair appears to be shrinking between visits.

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5/17/2005 08:37:00 PM 9 comments


Ah, the eye patch. I wore one for years on my left "lazy" eye, after the right underwent surgery to uncross it. The patch-wearing procedure has become much less unpleasant from what I hear, but hopefully he won't need one at all.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:56 PM  

I meant to say I wore the patch on my right after surgery to try to get the left to be less lazy.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:57 PM  

This daily observer will pray! Pray, pray, pray! I encourage the rest of you believers to do the same! This baby has been thru too much not to commit to this too!
I can not tell you enough, how much I enjoy checking in "every single day!" Thanks for sharing!
Palm Harbor
PS: I will be in GR next week and would love to see Odin in person! Would that be possible?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:04 PM  

Sending little Odin lots of good thoughts from California!

By Blogger Gab, at 12:24 AM  

Oh wow! Now I'm fearing our own appointment next month :(

Glass can be done - try training now with baby bandz. The glasses our son had flex around the head and a soft cord stretches across the back to connect them. Ours are VERY Mr. Magooish, but they work. Kyle's actually outgrown his, thus the follow-up. I plan on getting a newer style (shape) that has just come out by the same manufacturer - a little more my speed in style.

We alternate a cloudy film over each lens for an hour/day per eye to help correct any laziness and strengthen the eyes.

By Blogger Katra, at 12:59 AM  

Alina is 16 months now and also has her check-up next month. Her last appt was one year ago where she too was diagnosed with nearsightedness. I'm quiet anxious to find out our results of a years wait. Am praying for little Odin though.

Tina / AL

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:14 AM  

katra: "Glass can be done - try training now with baby bandz. The glasses our son had flex around the head and a soft cord stretches across the back to connect them."

thanks for info katra. i knew kyle had rop surgery but i didn't know that he was wearing glasses. a few questions come to mind:

1. is his nearsightedness or farsightedness related to the rop or rop surgery or genetics ( or both/all )?
2. at what eye prescription did you start training with the bands and wearing the glasses ( i'm asking because our opthamologist seems pretty conservative about when to try and train an infant to wear lenses so i'm looking for alternate opinions )?
3. how did kyle's eyesight change over time ( i.e. did it start off with slight nearsightedness and progressively slide towards more severe nearsightedness? as always all kids are different, but i'm interested in hearing more about kyle's history )

obviously if you don't feel like answering any of the questions, i won't be offended the least bit :-)

By Blogger e3, at 9:47 AM  

lori: "PS: I will be in GR next week and would love to see Odin in person! Would that be possible?"

of course! some people might even tell you that we're quite harmless :-) just send an email to e3 (AT) snowdeal (DOT) org and we can arrange lunch or something. great timing on your part since we won't be in town for too much longer!

By Blogger e3, at 10:22 AM  

Kyle's were most likely due to ROP, but considered mild - initially. He has a bit of an astigmatism, and the script, I'll have to get back to you on.

Our dr was agressive with starting on the glasses for two reasons... 1, he'll get used to it. 2, we could ward off some issues without surgery, such as his lazy eye. The lazy eye has gotten considerabley better over time - and is evident in pictures. Using the patch helped to strengthen the eye muscles.

As for improvement - well, he's tracking very good. But, let me get back to you on everything for certain after our f/u next month :)

By Blogger Katra, at 3:18 PM  

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"it is hard to be brave," said piglet, sniffing slightly, "when you're only a Very Small Animal." rabbit, who had begun to write very busily, looked up and said: "it is because you are a very small animal that you will be Useful in the adventure before us."

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this site chronicles the continuing adventures of my son, odin, who was unexpectedly born on the fourth of july at 25 weeks gestation, weighing 1 pound 7 ounces.

he's quite a fighter and you can always send him a postcard to the most current address listed here if you're inspired by his adventures. see the postcard project/google maps mashup to see a map of the postcards.

if you're new, you can browse the archives to catch up. and don't forget to watch a few movies that i made while we were in the neonatal intensive care unit. or if you want the abridged version and you can find a copy, you can read about his adventures in the november 2005 issue of parents magazine.

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