About two months ago Christopher was sitting at the table eating his dinner and he looked up at me to say something. He looked at me a little cross-eyed and laughed. I immediately responded with the typical mom statement - don't cross your eyes or your face will get stuck like that. It was one of my parent's favorite quotes and I couldn't help but say it. Naturally, I assumed this was a new trick he had picked up from a friend and that he had found quite funny to do himself. Exhibit A:
Christopher crossed his eyes twice more that week. Each time I replied with my parent's favorite quote. It wasn't until two weeks after the first incident that I noticed something was different. Christopher came into the living room and began a very serious conversation about granola bars (or as he calls them, "nola bars"). As he was speaking to me and making direct eye contact, I noticed his left eye start to drift in - toward his nose. Christopher had no idea it was happening but I could see it plain as day. As soon as he directed his attention elsewhere his eye went back to the center.
It was then that I knew Christopher was not crossing his eyes on purpose. There was something seriously wrong. Our first stop was the pediatrician. He did a basic test with a flashlight. Nothing. He couldn't see it. I knew he wouldn't. That's how it always goes. You tell the doctor something is wrong and the kid shows no signs the second you walk through the threshold at the office.
After his exam and finding no physical evidence, the doctor's first question was, "Has anyone else seen this? Are you sure it's crossing?" - Oh no, no one else has seen it. In fact, I'm totally making this up and wasting your time and mine. Not to mention a whole lotta money on a doctor's visit. Of course someone else has seen it. No I'm not making it up.
His second question was even better. "Has he injured his eyes recently?" Oh great. Well, I can't lie to him. Christopher had in fact fallen down the stairs at my sister's house a week prior to the appointment. Exhibit B:
But I tried to explain to the doctor that I had seen the eye-crossing before he had fallen down the stairs. Not to mention that his injury was on the other eye. The eye that wasn't crossing. But of course, he assumed that the fall may be the problem. "He may need a CT."
Whoa, back the truck up. Lets not go there just yet. I really don't think the fall had anything to do with this. After a little persuasion, the doctor agreed that we could see an opthamologist first before taking drastic and EXPENSIVE step. And so, off to Children's Hospital we were.
A week later we went to our scheduled appointment downtown. It was a four hour appointment. Let me repeat that. Four. Hours. It was very long, but Christopher was a trooper and did extremely well. His first test was with the doctor's fellow. He had Christopher sit in the very cool chair and look at a computer screen about 15 feet away. Large pictures came across the screen and Christopher took his time telling the doctor what he saw. Teddy Bear. Cake. Horsie. Gradually the pictures got smaller. Then Christopher put a patch over his eye (pretending to be a pirate) and guess at the pictures again. I thought he did really well. He was able to see some very small pictures.
He then had his eyes dialated which was probably the worst part of the appointment - let's remember that this is the same kid that screams bloody murder when he gets water on his face in the bathtub. I knew putting eye drops directly in his eyes was not going to go well. And it didn't.
But once we were back in the waiting room playing video games (St. Louis' Children's Hospital is so cool) he was fine. After about 30 minutes we were in the exam room and a nurse took pictures (very close pictures) of Christopher's eyes. They said nothing. We went back to the waiting room.
After a half hour of staring at the fishies in the fish tank we headed back once again to the exam room. A new doctor (the doctor's resident) came in and put some very large glasses on Christopher. He changed out the lenses several times and we went through the Pirate Picture Test once again. It seemed as though the resident found the ones he liked then said the doctor would be in shortly.
After three and a half hours we finally met the opthamologist. "Accommodative Esotropia." That was the conclusion. Basically, he's extremely farsighted and the eye can't focus on an object so it basically gives up. It's not so much that anything is blurry, which is probably why we haven't noticed before. He just can't keep focus on one object. So....
Christopher has glasses! Isn't he adorable? (Exhibit C)
We took his prescription from Children's Hospital and headed over to Mercy Hospital to get his glasses. They had a wonderful children's section at the optometrist's office. When we walked in the doc asked for our prescription. I handed it over and he said, "Oh my!" - Not a good start if you ask me. "You're gonna need special lenses."
"I have a feeling that's gonna cost me," I replied. Then he explained that Christopher would need compact lenses ($$$). If we were to purchase regular lenses then they would be so heavy that they would fall off his face.
Add on bendable wire frames ($$), transitionals ($$$$) - cause everyone knows the kid won't leave the house without his sunglasses - and finally, add on scratch resistant lenses ($) - and well you end up with a big ($$$$$$$$$$) bill. Oh, plus there's the fact that Brian and I have never needed glasses, so we don't have a vision plan on our insurance. So we were lucky enough to pay for this visit out of pocket. It's on the top of my To Do List to add vision as soon as the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. Just to prove a point, Christopher will be paying for his own college textbooks. Gotta get my money back somehow.
But all is good now. So far anyway. His cross-eye disappears when he wears his glasses but comes straight back when he takes them off for a bath or bedtime. He seems to see details on items better than before and luckily (knock-on-wood) he's been really good about wearing them.
The only thing alarming is that he looks soooo much older. He looks like he six or seven now. People had already thought he was older than he was because of his height. The glasses just add to it. I'm afraid that people will expect him to be more mature then he really is. When we were shopping for a car last week, the front desk receptionist actually asked Christopher how school was going this year.
Really? He's three. We get a wholenother year to dream about school. Thank goodness. After glasses, I don't know that I'm prepared for another big milestone...