Finn: A Visit To the Ophthalmologist

I mentioned not long ago that Finn’s left eye has been turning inward sometimes.  This has been a fairly new development; I’ve only started noticing it in the last month or two.  At his regular 4-year well check with our pediatrician, I was told that it’s an optical illusion – that his eye is not actually turning in.  I called bullshit – this isn’t my imagination, nor is it an illusion.  Not only that, but shortly after that appointment, his right eye also started turning in occasionally.

This morning we went to see a pediatric ophthalmologist – the same one he’s seen before, although it’s been quite a while since his last visit.

It was a nightmare.  Screaming 4-year old, screaming infant.  At one point, I was holding both Finn and Scarlett on my lap in the exam chair.  Finn has apparently developed quite an aversion to big, scary chairs, weird medical equipment, and lights being shined in his eyes.  He screamed and cried and thrashed through the entire examination, even kicking the doctor.  I finally put Scarlett back in her stroller where she screamed her head off, and sat with Finn in the exam chair, holding him in a headlock/bear hug with my legs pinning his legs, while he continued to howl and yell and cry.  And the truth?  What kept running through my head was, “This is the picture of Down syndrome, of developmental disability, that everyone is afraid of: the screaming, thrashing child who can’t verbalize his feelings, whose face is a mottled, snotty, drooly mess.”  I just wanted to cry.  But that would have made three of us crying, and although the doctor was extremely sweet and patient, I fear that would have put even her over the edge.

As it turns out, Finn does have strabismus, which is not uncommon in the general population of children, but is especially common in children with Down syndrome.  I have to admit that I take a perverse satisfaction in this confirmation that Finn’s intermittently misaligned peepers is neither illusion nor my imagination.  It’s likely that he will need glasses, but seriously, I am about 110% sure that there is no way in hell he’d keep glasses on at this point, so the doctor wants to see him again in six months, and in the meantime, we’re supposed to try to get him used to glasses by getting him some little-kid sunglasses and encouraging him to wear those.



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7 Comments on “Finn: A Visit To the Ophthalmologist”

  1. Stacey
    September 17, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    So sorry to hear you had a rough time with both kids, but good for you keeping your cool.

    Is an eye patch a possibility? That helps strengthen the focusing muscles on the weaker eye. There’s a very cute DVD out that helps kids learn about the eye patch & makes it seem like a really cool thing. The eye patches also come in a ton of colors & designs now so he can choose a different one every day.

    • Lisa
      September 18, 2012 at 1:28 am #

      Stacey, I asked about patching, and the doc said that’s for a different issue – honestly, it was so crazy in there with Finn and the baby both going nuts, I can’t even remember exactly what she said, but it made sense at the time. Bottom line, patching is for one issue, glasses for another, and Finn’s issue apparently requires glasses, which doesn’t surprise me.

      Are you on FB? I think I’ve looked for you with no luck. If you’re there, friend me!

  2. Ellen
    September 18, 2012 at 2:06 am #

    I’m glad your feelings were confirmed. My daughter Grace got glasses at age 2 and it took quite some time until she was good about keeping them on. The two things that helped was that her teachers expected her to wear them in school and that she really could see so much better with them.

    • shari
      September 18, 2012 at 2:22 am #

      I have two daughters with strabismus. my youngest started wearing glasses at 8 months! We went with the miraflex brand…made for wee ones…and she kept them on. she is now four, and we just transitioned her to “big girl” glasses. look into this brand when it’s time…they were great.

  3. Heather
    September 18, 2012 at 5:50 am #

    Morgan also has this and her opthomologist just said to keep checking it every year. It got worse around 5-6 years old and is now better. I notice it every once in awhile, mainly in pictures but she still doesn’t have glasses. Her optho said it can actually make the eye turn in even more when glasses are off after they have started wearing them. And I agree, no way Morgan was going to keep glasses on. She HATES anything on her face or ears. Just got her to wear goggles this summer and that took 5 years of trying.

  4. Jody
    September 18, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    YOU have the patience of a saint. I’d of been crying myself. NEVER underestimate the amazing strength of a mother.

  5. Jaida
    September 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    Ohhhhh friend. I have SO been there. I always try to remind myself that tons of children have aversions to medical examinations and the doctors are really unlikely to be attributing it to Ds (and I say “always remind myself” because I have the same thoughts whenever P loses it in public).

    Anyway, Pacey was 4 when we got his glasses, for the same issue, and I was terrible about making him wear them (his first pair were the Miraflex too). I agree with the comment about having teachers put them on him at school…it was that consistency that got us over the hump. P now asks for his glasses first thing, and I got him some “big boy” glasses for kindergarten that are SO handsome. It’s been kind of a fun thing to bond with other mothers over too…something to have in common between P and other kids besides Ds.

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