Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Glasses (Pronounced “Gah-gees”)

On Monday Noah got his glasses.

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I thought I’d share a bit about Noah’s glasses journey (so far) – in case you’re interested or just embarking on this journey with your little one. Feel free to skim read / exit out altogether if this a bit boring for you! It has developed into a rather lengthy snooze-fest!

We became aware of Noah’s eye problems earlier this year when I began noticing his left eye sometimes turning in. The Plunket nurse picked it up also (and informed us the eye turning in is called a squint) and referred us to the ophthalmology clinic at our local hospital.

We had a little bit of a wait (but not too bad) until his first appointment, where they basically just gauged his reaction when showed pictures that progressively got fainter and therefore harder to see. They patched one eye at a time while they did this. (You can’t exactly ask a 2.5 year old to read the eye chart, can you?) He struggled to see some of the faintest pictures with his left eye (although at the time I told myself that by this time in the appointment he had just got bored) – anyway based on this it was presumed highly likely there was a problem and were booked in for a follow up appointment.

In this next appointment they put eye drops in Noah’s eyes which dilated his pupils and then the doctor was able to shine a torch into Noah’s eyes and therefore write his prescription.

His prescription is + 3 for the right eye and + 5 for the left eye. I need to read more up on all this, but my understanding is that his eye sight really is not that great – especially the left eye. Although from what I have observed of him (without glasses) he is able to pick out all the animals, numbers he knows etc in his books, although he does seem to point at strange men and old ladies when we are out and calls them Daddy or Nana. (This can be embarrassing!)

From what I understand of it, his focussing muscles are not great which means he has to do extra work intently staring at something or squinting a bit which is very tiring and then his left eye sometimes just gives up and that’s when it turns in (especially when he’s tired.)

Anyhow …! We went to Spec Savers, Hastings a couple of weeks ago to pick the frames. They were super helpful and didn’t mind that we  Noah got choc from his M & Ms all over many pairs! The M & Ms were a necessary bribe so the staff there could get measurements they needed. We ended up picking out 2 pairs of really cute Mr Men glasses on their 2 pair deal. Kids glasses really have come a long way.

I was really blown away by the level of service we received at that shop. We had checked out many other places and they just could not compete and had in fact told us that Spec Savers (SS) would not be able to do the 2 pair deal with Noah’s prescription. They were wrong, We were also advised by other places that we should pay an extra $100 to have the left lens thinned for aesthetic reasons. Of course we wanted Noah to look good so we were all planning on doing that. But then Steve at SS showed us that it would only reduce the thickness by 0.3 of a mm!! (For a $100!!) And because it was a small child’s lens the angle was much smaller and it wouldn’t look too thick anyway.

… Just so you know this is NOT a review for SS and they are not paying me to say this at all – but they were just so helpful in what could a bit of a stressful thing. (Isn’t anything involving your kids health/ and or departing with large amounts of money somewhat stressful?) I’m probably going to forward a link to their head office so the Hastings staff can be patted on the back .. and if they decide to use Noah as a super cute model in any of their campaigns I wouldn’t complain!  (Although they better be armed with M & Ms!)

Back to the story at hand – The glasses were then sent away to be fitted with Noah’s prescription lenses. When we picked up the glasses on Monday and Noah was amazed at what he could see. He always gives me a running commentary anyway but this was different and more intense : “Mummy house, house, car, blue car, old lady!”

Its early days yet and I’m aiming to have about a week of easing into the glasses. First day he wore them for about 2 x 1 hour blocks. Yesterday, he wore them when out and about in the buggy. We had talked them up and he was excited and amazed as described above, but he still thinks as them kind of like a new toy that he gets bored off and then discards, and still has to get used to the bits behind his ears etc.

 These are my observations and thoughts on it so far:

* Despite the initial (and in my opinion very helpful and necessary) M & M fest, I am trying to keep treats/ bribes (especially food ones) to a minimum. When I was a kid I bit my nails so Mum offered me bribes to stop. I’d stop, get the bribe then start again to get another. And then my sister started seemingly to get in on the bribe action! And we don’t want to add teeth problems and childhood obesity into the mix as well! (joke!)

* I don’t really want to punish him for not wearing his glasses – I want to avoid a negative association with them. Intentionally breaking them or the like will be met with an appropriate response though!

* I want to be encouraging and give lots of praise, yet also hang back from doing this too much as I want them just to become part of normal life … and I’ve noticed after a while if I don’t mention them every 5 seconds, he forgets he’s wearing them.

* As with any property, I’m encouraging him to look after them (He is very much into trying to ‘clean’ them with that cloth!) and to give them to me when he doesn’t want them anymore (hopefully this becomes less and less.) I also have to get over worrying that he might break them – it likely will happen but better damaged worn glasses than pristine never worn ones!)

* I have developed a sticker/ stamp chart – inspired by Angela of Striking Keys, toilet training chart – see here. Actually a lot of her and other general toilet training strategies can be applied. There are a lot of parallels  - in that I just need to keep consistent, keep offering him to put them on, and I plan to try and get some cool toys and books about glasses. However, I’d take a wet puddle on the floor accident over a broken glasses, few hundred more dollars down the drain accident any day!

The plan with the chart is that every day before bed, he can put one sticker on if he’s worn them for at least 1 hour, two if he’s worn them most times I’ve offered them for at least an hour at a time, and three if pretty much all day – pretty bad measurements, but that’s the best I’ve come up with!

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Blah, Blah, Blah (sorry for the novel!)

If you have a kid that you’ve already been through this with and have some helpful hints of your own. Please let me know, I’d be very appreciative!

I also haven’t yet turned to the google machine for suggestions – but sometimes I’ve found with other health issues all the info the internet spouts out can be somewhat overwhelming!

And, in case your wondering … I was a bit sad when I found out Noah had vision issues. You wonder why? As of about 25 I developed short –sightedness and have glasses for distance, but other than that there is no history in either mine or Andrew’s family, and Noah wasn’t prem or anything, which can be a contributing factor. I guess we’ll never know and besides there are much worse health issue which he does not have.

And I think wears them pretty well… don’t you think?

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Jo said...

Super Duper cutie!!! They look great on him.

Frater Family said...

He looks cute as!

Anthea said...

Yes there is a bit of family history so we probably need to talk! I also found out I was short sighted in my early twenties - the optometrist seemed to think I had been that way since I was much younger. And Gran had glasses when she was young for astigmatism and grew out of it. So more family history than you (and I) might know so lets do some research :) xx

Anonymous said...

I think they make him look even cuter! I had to wear glasses from about 4 and unfortunately there was no such thing as being able to make the lenses thinner. I always pay to have them as thin as possible now. Is there any chance of him having to wear a patch to make his left eye stronger?