Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Squint, You Said?

"Squint (strabismus) is the term used for the condition when the eyes are misaligned and not looking at the same thing."

When Jakey was younger, we would have friends commenting that his eyes were not focusing on the same direction, at times. He has no problems looking at things in the distance but we did notice that he would stare intently at things at a close range, especially his trains.

At first we thought that it was just the wider than usual childhood bridge (common in kids) that is causing his eyes to work a lil harder at focusing on close ups. This is commonly known as the false squint.

But it wasn't a worry for us as he was still playing fine and just being a happy healthy boy, in general. And most times, his eyes were looking pretty normal.

So we just let it be and thought it would self correct when he is older.

However, lately, he's been playing bubbles with my dad in the evening and my dad was commenting that he had trouble catching a single bubble. He had no issues blowing it but he could not focus on one. Kayden, on the other hand, had no problems with it.

That kinda got me a lil worried and so I made an appointment with the Singapore National Eye Clinic to get his eyes checked.

We waited two weeks for it and this morning we rocked up for our appointment, with a fairly relaxed demeanour. Afterall, the kid had always been fine.

They ran a series of tests to check his vision and alignment. But being a lil young at 2 and a half, he was not being the best patient they had. In fact, he was so distracted by everything around, that he wasn't cooperating in some tests.

This is the part that kinda pissed me off.

We made an appointment to see the senior pediatric opthamologist. So during the consultation, the lil one was rather impatient with her and just didn't follow her instructions. HOWEVER, unlike the pediatricians that the boys see, this lady was hardly making an effort to connect with him as a young patient.

In fact, she immediately recommended that he got sedated.

Not before the poor thing had to endure three rounds of stinging eye drops to dilate his pupils. By this stage, he was completely freaked out.

We had no choice but to sedate him so that we can get the consultation over and done with.

After he was in a drugged out stage, a lady checked his refraction and found that he has longsightedness.

Then we waited for that senior pediatric opthamologist and a consultant to check his vision and if there is a need for glasses to correct the squint.

They concluded that the kid had to wear glasses for the long term with 500 degrees to his left eye and 600 to his right. After giving me a very brief explanation (1st, Glasses, if it doesn't work, they'll put him in more powerful lenses. And if not, then surgery) and a strong recommendation to buy their frames, both of them hurriedly left the room for lunch. (?)

Which really annoyed me because I wanted to know if there were other ways we can correct this squinting problem. And what are our options? Can we treat this holistically? Will the glasses stunt the development of his eyes?

Nope. No chance to ask.

Or to even react to the news that my child has really poor vision, according to them.

I was expecting better pediatric treatment from them. Bad enough they were not being really friendly to my child. They didn't even bother to explain the entire situation.

We left the hospital feeling rather disgruntled. We feel that glasses would stunt the growth of his eyes and cause it to be overly reliant on the lenses. What we worry is, he would not be given a chance for his own eyes to correct itself.

Darien and I are now going to seek a second opinion at either KK or Mount Elizabeth and see if both the diagnosis are similar. We are also reading up a whole lot of medical and holistic information about correcting his squint. If need be, we might have to go back to Melbourne to seek treatment.

Poor baby. I wished he didn't have to worry about his eyes. But like I told the husband, he's happy and healthy in most ways and there can be worse things a child can have. We just have to slowly work out the best solution for him.

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