In less than two months, my daughter’s eyes went from totally normally to being crossed more often than not. I still can’t believe how quickly it happened. One night at bedtime, as I lay cuddling her in the darkness, something made me turn on the light and look into her eyes. She didn’t seem to have control of them. Something wasn’t right. I was the only adult in the house and I worried she was having a stroke or something. She was acting normal and her eyes went back to normal pretty quickly.
It was two weeks until the next episode. This time at the dinner table and this time I wasn’t the only adult. I quickly changed back out of my PJs and into my clothes as I waited for her doctor to call me back. Surely we were headed to the ER. But since she had no other neurological symptoms and was acting fine, we were referred to a pediatric eye doctor for the next day. There they were unable to recreate the eye issues. They dilated her eyes and measured them, checking her optical nerve for swelling. All was normal, including vision. Then on the drive home it happened again, worse this time and lasting for several minutes. I took a video and turned right back around in tears to show the doctor. Her follow up appointment went from one year to one month.
During that month, we saw her eye issues increase significantly. She began squinting one eye to reduce the double vision caused by her misalignment issues. She began losing control of her eyes for longer periods of time and just about every day while still only when tired – before nap and bedtime. At the follow up we were advised to come back should it increase in frequency and duration throughout the day. The doctor didn’t want to rush into glasses – they won’t fix the problem, just trick her brain into aligning them when she has them on. When she’s not wearing them she’s likely to have crossed eyes. And then just in the week after the follow up it went from only at bedtime and nap, to happening at school, to happening more than not. And so we now try glasses. And I just can’t help but think of how this will affect her in her life and how quickly this became something she’ll most likely have to live with forever.
When she takes swimming lessons, she’ll probably have crossed eyes. When she baths, showers, changes clothes in the locker room. Even if the glasses work, there are so many times her friends will see her not wearing them. And children can be so cruel. And what if they don’t work? Well, that means surgery might work. And what if it doesn’t? What if? What if? What if she had cancer? What if she wasn’t here anymore? Those things are so much worse, but still I am struggling with this for her.
I look at old photos of her. All I can see is her eyes. What she used to look like just weeks ago. I spent her last weekend without glasses trying to remember to snap as many photos as I can. But not many of the photos came out with her eyes aligned. We go to church and everyone notices. She has so much less control of them than she had just a week before. Everyone smiles and some comment, thinking my three year old has just learned to wink at people. What a cute little trick. But really, she’s struggling to not see double, trying to compensate by closing one eye. I’m not offended. I just explain what’s going.
So she will wear glasses. She will look different from here on out. Not bad, just different. Her small beautiful face will be hidden, if just a little. Will it be harder to kiss her little face, or smoosh my face against hers? Will we still be able to rub noses like Daniel Tiger? I spent a few nights crying, wanting to fix any little thing that might be “wrong” with my babies. But they aren’t perfect. No one is. I’m moving on now. Celebrating that I still have her and she is healthy and happy.