Mak­ing a spec­ta­cle of our­selves by not spot­ting our son’s lazy eye spot­ting our son’s lazy eye


Gloucestershire Echo - - FAMILY MATTERS - Richard IRVINE

WE CAN be thank­ful for many things liv­ing in the UK. We in­vented Sun­day lunch, bank hol­i­days I imag­ine, prob­a­bly foot­ball and the NHS.

Thank­fully, it is en­tirely due to the tire­less work of our local GP to find some­thing wrong with Thomas that we dis­cov­ered he has a lazy eye.

Dis­ap­point­ingly, his par­ents hadn’t spot­ted one eye looks in a slightly dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion to the other. Thank­fully, a trained pro­fes­sional fully in­vested in the health of our child was there to clear up af­ter our par­ent­ing mess.

The boy twin was re­ferred to oph­thal­mol­ogy for fur­ther tests with an­other pro­fes­sional, who would no doubt spot some­thing else we’d missed, de­spite him be­ing our re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Un­for­tu­nately, I was at work so un­able to ac­com­pany Vic­to­ria to the hospi­tal. I say ‘un­for­tu­nately’, al­though it sounded hor­ren­dous.

Vic­to­ria had to es­cort 19-month-old twins around six dif­fer­ent rooms for two hours in a buggy that wouldn’t fit through any doors.

Thomas was tested on var­i­ous ma­chines to rule out any­thing truly ter­ri­ble and to see what was go­ing on. He even did the let­ters on the wall test while the oph­thal­mol­o­gist tried a va­ri­ety of lens on him.

I’ve no idea how that works. He was al­ways go­ing to do badly un­less the let­ters on the

wall read ‘Hello’, ‘no’ and ‘all gone’.

Af­ter all the test­ing, Thomas was left with the diagnosis of am­bly­opia lead­ing to astig­ma­tism. Es­sen­tially, it’s a lazy eye, which is odd be­cause the rest of Thomas is quite ac­tive.

The doc­tor ex­plained if one eye isn’t work­ing as well as the other, the brain ig­nores that one and puts all the en­ergy into the ‘good one’.

This elit­ist ap­proach con­tin­ues un­til the child reaches seven or eight and the brain gives up on op­ti­cal de­vel­op­ment and you’re left with one ‘good eye’ and a ‘lazy one’.

For­tu­nately, we can cor­rect the im­bal­ance be­fore that stage, if he wears glasses. If the glasses don’t work, they bring out the eye patch, but the im­por­tant thing is you can cor­rect his vi­sion. How­ever, this hinges on Thomas wear­ing glasses for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time.

You might imag­ine it’s very dif­fi­cult to per­suade a tod­dler to wear spec­ta­cles and you’d be right.

It’s a night­mare made worse by the fact once we get them on his face, his sis­ter steals them.

Thank­fully, they’re in nurs­ery for three days a week so I left them with the glasses and strict in­struc­tions that he should wear them at all times. All I have to do now is hope an­other group of pro­fes­sion­als can do what I can’t.

You’ve got to have a sys­tem to stop a sis­ter steal­ing your specs

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