Knitter on Skates

Prevent Blindness America gives me peace of mind

Posted by Gina on Friday, October 26, 2007

I’m sort of stuck in a knitting rut. Not really stuck in a rut so much as unable to spend money on more projects, and currently working on uneventful projects that don’t really inspire me to chat about my progress. Honestly, how many times can a person talk about how many more inches they’ve worked doing only stockinette stitch with the occasional yarn over? It’s kind of boring to talk about, listen to, and read about (the sole reason I haven’t even blogged about my current WIPs – I don’t want to bore you or me or my computer, hehe). I’ll probably mention them in a new post in next couple of days, though. I sort of feel like, now that I have a blog, I should keep it current and mostly on topic? Hmm… There’s an idea.

Oh, by the way, I tend to ramble. Have I mentioned that? Well, now you know. :-)

While my knitting is lulling, I find myself becoming both chatty and thoughtful. Thoughtfulness brings thoughts of the future, and thoughts of the future bring worry (for parents, at least. I don’t remember the thought processes inspired by random thoughtfulness from my childless days), and thus the need to just talk (type) it out to nobody in particular.

With my sons upcoming appointment with the ophthalmologist, I find myself being haunted by the words I heard at the last appointment six weeks ago, and also being burdened with anxiety about the future. “He will go blind in one eye.” Blind in one eye. Blind. Like a looming, ominous voice echoing in my dreams. Only I’m not dreaming.

(ok, I’m going to get right to the point for those who don’t want to read a novel, and THEN go into the background info for those who don’t know and are curious).

On Monday, we are going back to see if there has been any improvement (although I’ll settle for no further loss. I’ve been settling for that for two years now. I think I’ve finally accepted that it won’t improve). Through all of this, I have been so grateful that I can turn to organizations such as Prevent Blindness America and P.A.V.E for support, information, peace of mind, and encouragement. They’ve been my guide, of sorts. Words cannot express how much I truly appreciate these organizations. They give me hope, and although I will continue to loose sleep over my sons eyes, PBA and P.A.V.E will help me to not loose as much sleep.

Two years ago, just before his first birthday, Alex was diagnosed with the leading cause of monocular blindness in children. It’s called amblyopia. You might have heard it referred to as ‘lazy eye’ and commonly hear it used interchangeably (albeit inaccurately) with ‘crossed eyes’ (strabismus). His eyes do not cross. Cosmetically, his eyes are normal. A person cannot tell by looking at him that he has vision problems. So, what makes his eye lazy? He is loosing vision in one eye, and runs the risk of total and irreversible vision loss in that eye. To try to repair vision that he has already lost, we put a patch over his good eye in an effort to get him to use his bad (lazy) eye. And he wears glasses so that when he’s patching he can see, and when he’s not patching, his eye is given a little incentive to “work”. After two years, there has been no improvement. I’m still hoping, though. At least there has been no further loss. But, when there is no improvement, there’s only a certain amount of time before prevention doesn’t work, either.

Now, I realize that having one blind eye is not really all that bad in comparison. Sometimes I close one of my eyes and look around just to get some sort of idea. It’s not normal, but I can still function and process normally, more or less. (Although, some states require that both eyes have relatively good corrected vision in order to obtain a drivers license). Many, many people have led normal, productive, and successful lives with only one working eye. So, he might not be an airline pilot. He’ll have no other significant limitations. Really, not a big deal. But, as a parent, it’s my job to think about the “what-if’s”. What if something happens to his good eye? It has been stressed to me that I should really take eye safety seriously, because if there is some sort of accident, he will be left with no vision. Scary thought. What if he develops vision problems in his good eye? What if he has trouble in school because of his vision? What if he’s not as good at sports as the other kids because of his lack of being able to see things on his right side? What if he gets hit in the head because an object is approaching him that isn’t in his line of sight, but would be in the line of sight of someone with normal vision? What if…

It really does weigh on my mind sometimes. I know two adults who have amblyopia that was never corrected. Although they are blind in one eye, they are perfectly fine. They’ve lived normal, productive lives. But, when they found out about Alex’s eyes, they told stories of their childhood, and the inconveniences it has caused them through adulthood (some very small inconveniences, some big). One of the people, a grown man, was brought to tears because he was so passionate about us being diligent with treatment. It really tugged at my heart strings. If a grown man feels so inconvenienced by his visual limitations that he cries for my child, then it tells me that, no matter how often I close one eye and look around just to see what it’s like, I will never know what it’s like to live and see that way all the time. It made me realize that it is something that has the potential to deeply affect my child. Although it’s not a guarantee, it as the potential to limit my child. It has the potential to be something that weighs on his mind at times during his life. It made me realize that, even though he will adapt well, and will do well in life, he will wish that he could see with both eyes instead of just one. It made me realize that he might cry; that he might (and probably will) feel emotional pain. No parent wants that for their child.


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