Emma's Eye


This is our three year old daughter Emma.
Isn't she adorable?
 She is a very creative, loving and outgoing three and a half year old with a lot of personality.
Emma wears glasses.
She has close to no vision in her right eye.
We first found out when she was around 18 months old when we noticed her eye was turning in.
Shortly after that we had her tested and were told that she has close to no vision in her right eye and that she needed glasses and to wear an eye patch for 2 hours a day.
Emma was such a happy baby.
She smiled a lot, sang a lot and gave lots and lots of hugs.
We started with the glasses and patching around 18 months old and that's when things started to get
HARD.
Everyday revolved around trying to get our baby to cover her good eye and force her to walk around practically blind.
It could take 4 hours just to get the eye patch on only to be ripped off 5-10 minutes later.
I wish this was the part where this story gets better.
To say that now 2 years later the fights to patch have stopped and Emma`s eye is improving.
The truth is though her eye has not improved and the daily struggles have not stopped.
She had her regular 3 month checkup with her eye therapist today and I almost broke down.
I told her I felt as though our whole life was consumed by her eye patch.
I told her it wasn`t fair that I am always  `fighting` with our 3 year old to put on her eye patch when I wish we could just be cuddling watching a movie or baking cupcakes like all the other mamas.
The eye therapist told me not to worry, that she hears this sort of thing a lot from other families in similar situations and that it can get better if we start consistently patching.
I asked what would happen if we aren`t successful and if we couldn't get the patching routine down.
She told me Emma would lose all vision in her right eye for good but that she isn`t worried yet because she is only 3 - she would be worried if she were 8 but she is only 3.
Well I am worried, her dad is worried.
It is been 2 long years with still no improvement.
People around us always try to offer suggestions as if we hadn`t already tried them.
I know that they are thinking that if it were their child they wouldn't have this problem because it would be oh so easy to get their child to wear a patch. They love to offer suggestions and say well if you did this or that it wouldn't be such a battle.
Why don't you try...
"Decorating the patch"
"Wearing a patch with her"
"Take away all privileges until she wears the patch"
"Play Pirate Princess"
If only it were that easy.
 We have tried everything.
We have decorated patches, we have worn them, we have kept her in her room all day, played princess, ordered hundreds of dollars worth of different coloured patches. Different types of glasses, different reward systems, heck we've even tried bribing.
I have paid hundreds of dollars on daycare programs to see if maybe she would listen to a teacher figure instead of myself.
I have tried EVERYTHING.
I have even thought about quitting my job so I can put all my time and energy into getting her eye better.
Most of our days are spent stressing out our little girl.
Telling her she needs to wear her eye patch. Sending her to her room because she won't. Getting frustrated etc. etc.
The eye therapist assures me that once we get even 3 months of a good patching routine down her eye will improve and that Emma will be more willing to wear her patch.
She explained to me that it must be terrifying for Emma when she is patching now because its as if she is walking around practically blind.
I asked if there were any other options right now.
I had heard there was a drop you could put in the strong eye to force the weak eye to work harder.
This is not an option yet as her vision is too poor and it wouldn't be fair to a 3 year old to force them to walk around practically blind for 8 hours with no option to take the drops out.
Surgery is even out of the question until her eye improves.
The eye therapist reassured me that as she gets older she will understand more.
Here's hoping so.
After the eye appointment Emma and I had a long talk and she wore her eye patch  for a full 2 hours.
I think Emma could sense how worried I was for her.
It was a struggle to put it on as always but once she did I gave her a great big hug and thanked her.
We started a calendar and told her everyday she wears her eye patch we Will put a sticker on and when she gets to the last day of the week we will take her to the Disney Store.
Here is hoping patching gets easier after this appointment and Emma can understand better.

 
This is a face I often see Emma make at me when I try to get her to patch.
She turns into a very upset girl.
I really feel for her - when other kids only have to fight with their parents to put there coat on when its cold Emma has to fight with her parents about putting a patch over her strong eye.
It just doesn't seem fair.
I know kids have worse things they have to deal with but for me this is heartbreaking.
I realised after posting this picture where you can see her eye turning in I delete most pictures of Emma where her eye is really crossed.
Starting now though I'm going to keep those photos.
This is how Emma was born and hopefully one day she has better vision in her right eye.
Even if she doesn't she is beautiful the way she is.

 

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