Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cora's post-post-op

Well, this week puts us at just over 6 weeks post surgery for Cora. So much has happened in those six weeks - related to her eyes, but also otherwise developmentally. Feels like it's been 6 months!

So, first off, her eyes. Here are three pictures, you may have already seen them all, but they're nice for comparison:

The first is immediately pre-surgery, the second is immediately post surgery, and the third is from the other day. I think the most striking difference is between the first and the second photo, but what amazes me most is the difference between the second and the third. Why? because it was HER BRAIN that moved her eye from being over-corrected (which was intentional) to being more-or-less directly in alignment.

We went in for our post-post op appointment with our pediatric ophthalmologist yesterday. He uses his fancy lenses and shiny toys to check the strength of her eyes (not her vision - we already know she is neither far sighted nor near sighted, and until she can speak there's nothing else we can learn about the quality of what she sees). What he determined is twofold: first, while patching therapy has not appeared to deliver a vast improvement in eye strength as it so often does in little ones with Amblyopia, it may have improved it a little. Second, having her eyes similarly aligned means she's using them more "in stereo" (together) than she used to. Now, I'll follow that up by saying that it is rare that she actually uses her eyes together. You'd probably have to be one of her parents to recognize this, but she usually only uses one eye or the other to focus (camera one, camera two style) and it's usually her strong eye she chooses. Actually, it's almost always her strong eye.

The doc said that as he was examining her he observed the weak eye still has a lot of "play" in it. meaning it will sometimes be a little over corrected, and occasionally a little crossed. I occasionally observe the same thing, but again, you'd probably have to be one of her parents to notice. Ideally, as her brain-eye connection continues to improve, her brain will eliminate most of that play. We just have to wait to see what it will do (whether it will settle into a straight alignment, or some version of off-center alignment).

So, we patch. and patch, and patch. Familiar story, eh? Meanwhile Cora has learned to walk, has turned one, has begun babbling like a little parakeet, and generally remains her happy little self. She's decided cow's milk aint half bad (as long as it contains chocolate thankyouverymuch) and eats twice the dinner her brother does; although if you know her brother you know that's not hard to do. She's been through roseola, and a stomach virus, and STILL managed to gain two-plus pounds. She's also begun sleeping straight through the night (HALELUJIA!) with only a little prodding. Happy. Healthy. Couldn't ask for anything more.

We'll return in 3 months, and then again in an additional 3 months for further exams. At this point, unless/until we start to see identifiable differences in the ways her eyes track, we'll probably go back for visits every 3 or 6 months until she's around 3 years old. Whoopie! No, actually, that would be an awesome scenario. My hope is that her eyes will continue to be as straight (if not straighter) than they are today, and that her vision will continue/begin to improve, if it is at all lacking.

Sigh. I guess there are a few unknowns.

So now you're all caught up!