This is a question I get asked so frequently. You don't often see kids as young as Harper in glasses, so lots of parents wonder what the signs are to get their eyes checked.
To start off, I've seen it recommended to start getting eye exams as young as 6 months. We definitely didn't go that early. Eventually I put it on my to-do list. Then it kept getting pushed further and further down the list, only popping up a bit every time I saw a Facebook post about toddlers getting their eyes checked. Flash forward to Harper's third birthday party and I noticed it looked like her left eye was turning in, but as soon as I would focus on it to see if that was actually happening or if I was just seeing things, it would go back to normal. I figured I must be crazy! The next day I was taking more posed photos of Harper in her special dress with her big balloon and there it was, all the proof needed. Her left eye was caught completely turned inwards. What was happening?! This seemed so sudden. I put the camera down, sent my husband a picture of what was going on with her, quickly did a Facebook group search of recommended optometrists in Edmonton and phoned to get her an appointment for the next day. Those next 24 hours were spent freaking out. Dr. Google was scaring me. It was mixed with "this is normal for toddlers" and then "brain tumor" GAH!
The next day, we got in and the appointment wasn't too bad. It was way worse for me than her. Everyone was patient and she even took most of the eye drops like a trooper. Our optometrist, Dr. Tahsin Rashid was great, as was the staff. Harper was diagnosed with a few things:
Amblyopia (lazy eye)
Strabismus (eye turn)
Far-sightedness (high prescription)
Dr. Rashid was confident most of this can be dealt with by wearing glasses. He even said many kids eventually overcome all of the issues, and no longer need glasses in the end. Like a mountain shape it'll get worse before it gets better. I had one question to ask that I was scared of the answer. Was this my fault? If I took her in sooner, would she not have this severe of a problem? He said while they could have diagnosed her earlier, as soon as birth he said, he likely would have recommended her come back around her third birthday. Just because she was far-sighted didn't mean she would have needed glasses right away. It all would have happened around this time anyways. So that helped with my self inflicted mom guilt I imposed on myself.
After the shock wore off I knew she would be fine. All the women in my family wear glasses, and we rock them if I do say so myself! I would definitely recommend taking your littles in to see the eye doctor. The process was really simple. They asked her about what was in pictures, versus our adult "read the smallest line of letters you can" and even let her choose a mini clip to watch while he looked at her eyes (she chose Let it Go, of course!). She goes back around every 3 months to see how her prescription is going, and so far he is super happy! They haven't gotten worse, woot woot! To top it all off, this is all FREE! It's covered under Alberta Health Care. So if finances are a reason you've been hesitant, don't let it be. You can see what's all covered by AHCIP here.
Photo by: Laurie K. Jensen Photography
Since getting them, we have had some issues. While her eye focus has tremendously improved while they are on, the issues are actually from her throwing them out of frustration. There were a few months where daily she would throw them on the ground or spread the arms. Luckily we thought ahead and purchased 2 frames and lenses (Pearle Vision had a good deal!) plus the replacement protection for each pair. I figured 4 pairs should last us a year! One pair was already replaced. Luckily for us she hasn't been using this method of retaliation/rebellion on us as much, so we hope that phase has passed!
Photo by: Poole Portraits
I decided to ask Harper some questions on how she feels about having glasses.
How do you like wearing glasses?
I like wearing glasses because I love wearing them.
What do you love about them?
I put them on in the morning and then I wake up and then I eat breakfast.
Do they help you see better?
Ya. And they get scrubby when I touch them and then my mom cleans them and my dad cleans them.
What would you like to tell other kids about wearing glasses?
Uh...about when I make them jokes.
What kind of jokes?
Is there anything else you want to add about having glasses?
When I don't like eating glasses I put them out of my mouth *laughs*