As this year comes to a close, I found myself reflecting upon what was happening in my life exactly a year ago. I looked down at my oldest, as she’s grinning and asking me to play, and I thought about how much she’s grown. I thought about all that she’s accomplished this year and how much she’s changed. What I thought about the most, as I gazed into her big, blue eyes, is how well she’s done with her glasses.
When Rowyn was around 7 months old, I noticed one of her eyes pulling in and crossing. With her being my first baby, I did not know that this was something to be concerned about. When it began to happen more frequently, I mentally documented when I noticed it happening which was when she was concentrating hard to eat, play, or keep eye contact. After speaking to our pediatrician, she recommended going to a pediatric ophthalmologist. I shot down the idea.
Looking back now I realize that I shot down the idea because I wanted to ignore the fact that there was something wrong with my baby. Sometimes it easier to ignore things because you are scared of the outcome.
However, once she hit 11 months of age I agreed to a consult. The ophthalmologist dilated her eyes and within minutes of looking at her he was sure he had diagnosed her. “She needs glasses!” I remember almost laughing when I heard the statement. How in the world is a child who won’t even keep a hat on, going to leave glasses on her face?! He explained that Rowyn had a hereditary condition called accommodative esotropia.
“Accommodative esotropia occurs when accommodation compensates for hyperopia. Accommodation more sharply focuses the blurred image. Because convergence accompanies accommodation, one eye turns inward. Some children with accommodative esotropia cross-fixate and use each eye alternatively while the other maintains fixation. However, if one eye is more hyperopic than the other, only the better eye fixates and the unused eye has a considerable potential for amblyopia” (Fenichel, 2009).
This may sound hard to understand but basically one is compensating for the other, causing one to cross. The doctor explained to us that if we did not take measures to correct this now, she may lose sight in the bad eye permanently. I felt a pit in my stomach. He gave us instructions to pick out glasses and try them out for three months. After that, he would check her out again and if the glasses did not correct the eye, surgery would be necessary.
I remember leaving the appointment in tears. I was scared that she, an infant, may have to have eye surgery but I was also scared of the future. Would this affect her life for years to come? How was I going to keep glasses on her while I’m nearly 5 months pregnant? Will the stress of all this do me in before I even have time to worry about something else?!
The first week of getting her to wear the glasses was pure hell. She cried, I cried, and we were both frustrated with each other. I would put them on, she would immediately take them off. When she started to show some improvement she began throwing up incessantly (that is normal due to the required prescription in the lens). I remember praying over and over that the glasses would fix her eye, she would leave them on, and surgery would not be necessary.
Fast forward to March of 2017…
We received the awesome news that surgery would not be required and that the glasses were correcting the eye! I was overjoyed and so proud of this sweet, little babe who now acted as though she had glasses all her life.
One worry that I had was that she would be known as, “the little girl with glasses”, instead of Rowyn. I did not want her identity to be taken by the cute, purple frames around her eyes. However, maybe God wanted her to learn at an early age that she is unique and wonderfully made. It is rare to see another baby with glasses but the fact that she stands out doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I pray that she embraces her uniqueness and always remembers that God makes no mistakes and to use her appearance to glorify Him!
“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it” (Psalm 139:14, New Living Translation).
Fenichel, G. M. (2009). Disorders of Ocular Motility. Retrieved from Science Direct: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/esotropia