Vision Update – 2 years 3 months

Posted By on August 31, 2008

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Lyra had an appointment with her pediatric ophthalmologist this month, a check-up that was originally scheduled for the end of September. Several weeks ago, we lost one of the lenses from Lyra’s glasses. After over a week of searching, I gave up. We knew we had to get her a new pair. I didn’t want to buy her a new pair of glasses right then, knowing there was a chance that her prescription might change in September.  So, I called Lyra’s PO to see if they could get her in sooner. Luckily, they were able to schedule her an appointment later the next week. In the mean time, they said it was okay for Lyra to wear her old glasses…just until the appointment.
The day before Lyra’s appointment…the missing lens to her other glasses magically appeared. There it was, just sitting on the end table in the living room. I don’t know how it got there. We asked Rebekah and Dominick and neither of them knew how it got there. I suspect Lyra may have found it on the floor somewhere and just picked it up and put it on the table, but as much as I GRILLED her…she just wouldn’t confess…lol. 😛   Maybe it was the dog.

Lyra’s check-up went really well. They dilated her eyes and all that fun stuff. Her refractive error didn’t change, so her prescription remained the same. So much for my reasoning for Lyra needing a sooner appointment. 😛 Dr. Grin did note that Lyra was focusing on objects/noisy toys at a further distance. She was looking at and paying attention to the wiggling barking stuffed dog on the shelf across the room. …well okay then. 😛
Regarding Lyra’s nystagmus, Dr. Grin said that when she is focusing on something close up, her nystagmus REALLY slows down. Since the appointment, I’ve been paying attention to that more, and I agree. I’ve even noticed that for very brief moments when she’s focusing on something, her nystagmus stops completely.  Her next appointment will be in 6 months.

Dr. Grin did not, nor does she ever give us any type of visual acuity numbers for Lyra. I’m okay with that. She said she’s seen children have a visual acuity of 20/200 and then at an appointment 6 months later that same child see at 20/80. Those numbers fluctuate and they are not a definitive or complete indication of what Lyra sees.  However…just for the sake of numbers, we do now have a number.  Last month at the NOAH conference, we had the opportunity to get those visual acuity numbers. Doctors from the University of Minnesota were seeking volunteers to participate in a research study. It consisted of some basic information forms and a questionnaire and also included a vision test. They used a preferential looking test, specifically Teller cards, and based on that test, at that time Lyra’s acuity was 20/130. Those numbers mean more to other people than the do to me really. When people ask us, “So what IS Lyra’s vision like?”…that number is really what they’re asking for. So now I have a number I can give them…instead of just a range. I know her acuity may be better or worse than that on any given day depending on the environment and situation, but knowing whether its 20/100 or 20/360 doesn’t make any difference or serve any purpose. For those people who ask and just HAVE TO know… 20/130 is what I’m goin’ with. :)

Just over the last month I’ve actually had a more than a few opportunities to respond to those people, asking how well Lyra sees. After talking to those people and just thinking about comments people have made in the past, I’ve come to a conclusion… I think Lyra’s glasses are misleading. I think a lot of people assume that with her glasses on, she has 20/20 vision. When I’ve told people that Lyra’s vision is 20/130 WITH her glasses ON, many of them are shocked. These are people who have known Lyra since birth. A common response is, “Really! I had no idea her vision was that bad.” People knew Lyra had vision problems but apparently thought her glasses “fixed” all of those problems. It just really makes me wonder now, how many other people in Lyra’s life think this.

I can understand how easy it would be to think Lyra sees better than she does. She does function very well and puts on quite an act, fooling people into thinking she has perfect vision. I admit, sometimes she has me fooled, forgetting that she has any visual impairment. Then one day, Lyra walks up to a pile of laundry sitting on the couch and says, “Hi Daddy!”…and I’m reminded, oh yeah, she can’t see perfectly. :( Fortunately those sad moments are rare. Honestly, MOST moments are happy moments, when the focus is on silly, beautiful, sweet Lyra…and not on her visual impairment.


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