We recently welcomed our third baby boy into this world. As a third-time mom, not much can throw me for a loop anymore. This baby threw me a huge loop, though. He was born with no vision in his left eye.
While we were still in the hospital, we expressed concern to our doctors and nurses about his eyes being a slightly different size and him not opening his left eye as frequently as his right. We were told that this was normal after birth and the size was due to swelling and the birth process, but would even out over time.
At our follow-up clinic visit, everything was the same. The doctor said to give it more time and that everything was normal and fine after checking his eyes. I chose to listen to the doctors and tried to write off any abornamilites—it’s much easier to choose to believe everything is fine than to argue the opposite. Luckily, my husband wasn’t as persuaded.
After my husband continued to voice his concern, I ran to Dr. Google. The results from Googling “one little eye, one big eye” brought on some serious issues such as Glaucoma, Cataracts, Horner’s Syndrome and more. I texted my husband some articles and called the Pediatric Ophthalmologist immediately. We didn’t have a referral, but we knew we had to be seen. They fit us in for the following Monday.
After the Ophthalmologist just glanced into our son’s eye, she knew he had a cataract. Without any tools, lights, or special procedure she concluded a huge issue. So if an Ophthalmologist could see a problem using their plain eye, why did two doctors say otherwise after using their light for a quick eye exam after we voiced concern? Family medicine doctors aren’t familiar with many issues regarding the eye. Should we have been referred? Probably. But we’ve been happy with our doctors and their knowledge. They know a lot about a lot of stuff. Eyes just happen to be tricky.
Now we’re looking at a lifetime of eye care management, including surgeries, contacts, glasses, patching, and more. If we wouldn’t have pushed the eye issue, we likely wouldn’t have caught this until later on– and it is imperative for any vision recovery to have congenital cataract surgery around 6 weeks old. We caught it in time for optimal success. After all, we all just want the best for our babies.
What You Can Do
Your baby’s eyes might look normal. You might not have vision coverage with your health insurance. There should still be an eye exam between 6-12 months for every single baby. That’s why InfantSEE was founded. I could try to explain InfantSEE in my own words, but their website says it best:
Even if no eye or vision problems are apparent, the American Optometric Association recommends scheduling your baby’s first eye assessment at 6 months. Things that the Optometrist will test for include: excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism eye movement ability eye health problems. These problems are not common, but it is important to identify children who have them at this young age. Vision development and eye health problems are easier to correct if treatment begins early. InfantSEE®, a public health program, managed by Optometry Cares® – the AOA Foundation, is designed to ensure that eye and vision care becomes an essential part of infant wellness care to improve a child’s quality of life. Under this program, participating optometrists provide a comprehensive infant eye assessment between 6 and 12 months of age as a no-cost public service.
So with a FREE eye exam for babies 6-12 months old, you could be saving them from a future of their eyes crossing to adjust to farsightedness without glasses, you could find a small cataract that needs monitoring, or you might be told you’re fine. The one thing we learned with our third son, you don’t want to take advantage of the gift of vision.
Just by searching their website I was able to find multiple Madison area providers who participate in this program, and this program is NATIONWIDE. Please, get your baby’s eyes checked.
XoxoA new eyecare advocate