Thursday, May 27, 2010
Not long after we brought Ahna home at 13 months of age, we noticed that her left eye wandered outward on occasion. We usually noticed it in the morning, or when she had just woken from a nap, or when she was tired. In the beginning months, she would simply close her eyes and the left eye would refocus.
Her opthamologist diagnosed the exotropia, which is simply an outward deviation of one or both eyes, due to weakened muscles in the eye (the lateral rectus muscles). We learned that this condition would eventually get worse, and were told that Ahna would need corrective eye surgery between the age of 3 and 4.
We were told to monitor for these warning signals:
1. The frequency of the eye wandering was increasing
2. The duration of each instance was increasing
3. The angle at which the eye wandered? increasing
4. It would become more difficult for her to correct the 'wandering eye' by batting her eyes - it would remain unfocused despite her effort.
5. The eye would begin to annoy her - she would notice the problem, rub her eyes, etc.
Initially, with exotropia, vision is unaffected. However, if corrective surgery isn't done, the brain eventually "tells" the wandering eye that it doesn't have to "see" along with the "good eye." So surgery is necessary to help assure binocular vision, whereas the brain uses both eyes together as a single unit.
It's hard to believe that our girl will be 3 years old next month, and it turns out her eye surgery is taking place tomorrow.
Over the past two or three months, her eyes have gotten significantly worse. Both eyes - the right decided to join in on the wandering, too. Guess it felt left out. :-) It has become a regular, many-times-a-day occurrence, for a brother or a parent to be calling to Ahna, "Your eyes, your eyes...." as a signal to her that she's out of focus. She'll close those eyes, rub them, open, close. It'll take a few tries and a few seconds to correct them. The exotropia is still most evident when she is tired or sick, or when she is looking at something in the distance. Also, when we're out and about and she's in her carseat looking out the window, most usually when I glance back at her through the rearview mirror, her eyes are out of focus.
So it is time. We feel extremely blessed to have an excellent pediatric opthamologist performing her surgery. He, in fact, has done over 12,000 such procedures.
I've decided to blog my way through Ahna's surgery and recovery for a few reasons: because I'm obviously not blogging about anything else; because maybe it can help inform another family who may be going through the same thing, someday; and because our family in other states might want to follow along.
We leave for the hospital around 8:30 a.m. Hopefully, our baby girl will sleep in a bit, since she can have nothing to eat or drink when she wakes.
Her surgery is at 10:30. More tomorrow.