Why bother giving my baby an eye test? They seem fine…

We all have worries about our children, but as a rule many people assume their children’s eyesight is fine.
When I told people KW3 needed glasses, no one could believe it and many still can’t. She looks at people, smiles, follows our pets around, grabs things that interests her, is very content and her eyes seem straight! This however, is a common misconception. Just because you think they are fine, it doesn’t mean they are!

In America all parents are encouraged to get their babies checked sometime after 6 months as problems being caught early can prevent much more serious eye problems later. Granted, they have to pay for this privilege but it is encouraged nonetheless. In the UK we have even stopped the eye screening at the two and a half year check, which I believe is madness and all to cut budgets! Leaving testing them until school is such a shame and leaves so many parents feeling unneccesarily guilty that they had no idea their child’s vision was so bad. Large chains often don’t test until children are three, but some specialist opticians/optometrists are more than happy to test children that don’t talk and they have simple non invasive ways of checking whether their eyesight is a concern.
For KW3, the ‘test’ consisted of looking into little torches, tracking objects, and having different lenses held in front of her eyes while looking at bright flashing objects,  this told the optometrist that her vision was a concern so would need further investigation. KW3 actually enjoyed the test and it cost us nothing, the next test will be slightly more gruelling as she will have to have the drops to dilate the pupils, but that is only done if there seems to be a problem.
We honestly thought we would be leaving the optometrist with a clean bill of eye health, not a referral, but it just goes to show you can never be to sure.
I would encourage everyone to get their little ones tested, whether family history or not, but even more so if family history. What harm can it do, it doesn’t cost a penny and it could make a massive difference to your child’s sight . After all, I hadn’t a clue that my darling babies were very farsighted!

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My Three and Me

Our little four eyed boy…

When KW2 was 18 months we went on a eurocamp holiday to the Vendee,when feeding himself some finger food, I noticed his eye seemed to turn inwards. This happened a few times over the course of the holiday, and when I looked back at the pictures there were several photos where he looked a little ‘squiffy eyed’

 

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As soon as we got back I arranged an appointment with the doctors, as when I did a google search on ‘eyes turning in’, it came back with glasses or a brain tumour… The doctor could also see the turn a little, so referred us to the optometrist at the hospital, an 8 week wait. Well,with me being a worrier, I couldn’t possibly wait 8 weeks with those worries hanging over us, so I booked him into our local opticians, where there is a optometrist who specialises in children. The eye test was fascinating to watch with an 18 month old, he was not over happy about it but sat reasonably well, although he hated the drops used to dilate the pupils!  When Wendy diddams, told us he was probably a +7, +8 with astigmatism too, we couldn’t believe it. He is so long sighted and we had no idea whatsoever!

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and looking back there may well have been clues to his vision problems much earlier on. He had a limited attention span with books and had no interest in his sister’s television programmes at all, and he had also been very slow to master stairs. He slept very well and I had never had to make an effort to get him in a napping routine, as he had long regular naps and would even ask to go to bed. Seems his eyes must have been so tired from straining and trying to focus.

On that initial diagnosis, so much goes through your mind and we were understandably gutted (although very relieved it was is eyes not his brain). I was so upset that he might not have been able see my face properly, how different did the world look to him?  Would he still look like my adorable cute boy, or would he look comical? Would he keep them on? Would the transition to glasses be traumatic for him? I know glasses is so minor compared to health worries children and parents have, but I  was concerned nonetheless. Everybody want their children to be perfect, and knowing he had hurdles he would have to tackle so early in his life was upsetting.

The day he got his glasses, was the day he never took them off. He put them on and that was that, we are lucky in that they clearly made such a difference to his sight, he never had the urge to take them off. Two and a half years on and he has still never broken a pair, his glasses have become a part of him and his personality, he now looks odd without them!

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Actually, the main battle we had was with kiddiewink 1 who was gutted her brother was getting glasses, as she had wanted them for years. We couldn’t even appease her buy buying sunglasses, due to the fact she already had lots of pairs, luckily the opticians gave her a funky case which helped a bit. At her last test, she was told her eyes had got even better, her face fell and she was very sad! Now kiddiewink3 needs them, we are letting her help choose the girlie glasses and she is very excited. I suspect the next stage of our journey will be a bit bumpier than the transition for kiddiewink 2. Keeping glasses on a 7 month old, I imagine is rather tricky!

Patching activities

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Getting children to keep their patch on can be a real challenge, so their needs to be an incentive to keep it on. Let’s face it, if you were only using one eye, and that eye struggled, you wouldn’t want one either! A range of fun activities for the kiddiewink to complete while patch wearing not only encourages but works the uncovered eye too. We were told to do as much close work as possible with kiddiewink 2 when wearing the patch, jigsaws, writing, colouring and TV. Kiddiewink2 was only 2 and hated jigsaws so we had to rely largely on the TV and iPad. A reward chart can be very successful for some people too

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Below is a few patching ideas …

1) iPad- our little man likes to watch Netflix or play on a selection of iPad games. He loves the fact that when wearing his patch, he is in control and can choose what him and his sister watch. There is a few apps designed for patching but these were pricey so we just use the games he enjoys

2)TV- makes the uncovered eye concentrate

3) reading

4) story writing

5) jigsaws

6) word searches- fab for encouraging the eye to focus

7) button fastening, transferring peas/ pasta to different pots

8) patch bag- special toys only allowed out when patching

Blind as a bat!

Well… yesterday started off like any normal day with school run mayhem. My youngest kiddiewink had an eye test in the morning, so I put her to sleep in a pram so she could get as much sleep as possible before the eye test. She slept all the way to our local opticians and then had big smiles when I got her out. I was so convinced that this was just a routine check and she would not have the same problem as her brother. We have no family history of extreme far sightedness and we were all quite convinced his vision difficulties were linked to a very traumatic birth. Kiddiewink three smiles easily and watches her siblings tv, and is interested in grabbing everything. How wrong we were… After a fascinating ten minute test, in which kiddiewink two was a superstar, helping the optometrist, Wendy told us that she thought she was the most far sighted baby she had ever seen. I don’t think there has been many occasions where I have been rendered speechless, but this was one of them, all I could do was laugh, not because I found it funny though, quite the opposite. Apparently even without the drops to dilate the pupils,she was about a +11! I know all babies are far sighted but a reading like this is far from normal and it is upsetting to think she cannot see us all clearly. The upshot is a referral to the hospital which will hopefully come through quickly. I am impatient with things like that, now I know she needs them, I just want to get cracking with the whole process, as I have a feeling the transition to glasses may not be as smooth as it was with kiddiewink 2, keeping glasses on a 7month old I am sure will be a challenge!

It really is amazing how even small babies can be tested. They check how well their eyes track and follow and then use flashy toys in the distance for them to look in, while holding different lenses in front of their eyes. Eventually this will be in more depth with dilation drops, but for now it was just to check if she needed a referral. Kiddiewink 2 held the flashy toys, and called his sisters name to keep her focused, such a star.

Kiddiewink 1 is gutted as she is desperate for glasses, and has been since before her brother got them. To appease her she is being given the responsibility for helping choose the girlie glasses.

I am sure we have a bumpy road again but we will tackle any challenges we face head on, and hopefully we will all come out happy and smiling at the other side. I am gutted obviously, and wish my perfect baby girl could see like all her friends but I guess it was not meant to be and I am sure she will cope likes superstar. And although I don’t really want glasses hiding her pretty face and sparkling blue eyes, I am sure she will look like a proper cutie!

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He can see 3D and other exciting eye news…

A year or so ago, we were told kiddiewink 2 might never see the 3D images jump out clearly. Well… At his eye test this week, he managed to ‘pick up’ the flies wings, and spot the images that were jumping out! I am still smiling when I think about his little face when he was trying to touch the flies wings, so sweet. He performed the best he had ever performed and it was a super speedy eye test. Upshot is his vision is doing well but we will be keeping up the patching 2 hours a day, to ensure his vision doesn’t deteriorate. To be honest, I would rather keep it going for a few hours, than stop, and then have to start again. We have our own little routine with it all and it just works (at the moment). It will all be reviewed again at his next prescription check. While at the hospital I asked if we could organise time for kiddiewink 2 and I to take some photos for a photo story we are creating, they have agreed and offered us any help they can. I want to offer support to other young children experiencing hospital eye appointment, glasses, patches etc Today we picked up KW2s glasses, he was so excited and he thought he looked cool. While they were being tweaked, he was filling his pockets with the sweets they have in a bowl ( he really likes those sweets ), big perk of his visit for him. He also tried on lots of different pairs, making hilarious comments about how he looked. The optometrist is also keen to help me with our book, and we have a half hour appointment in a week to take photos around the shop, photos of one of my KW eye test and the equipment. I have several ideas about how to structure the book, and will be doing a few different ones I think, to see which works best. What I do with my book/leaflet, remains to be seen, but I figure it can be a lasting memory for him, if nothing else. All very exciting though.

Watch the moment he saw the wings…

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Zero waste week- make a pledge

As it is zero waste week, I am determined to make a change..
We already use reusable nappies and this has had a massive impact on our black bin! It went from full to almost empty (not to mention no nasty whiffs)

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Recently I began using reusable wipes as I was finding putting wipes in a nappy bag when out and about, and at home, a total pain,not to mention the use of a nappy bag, made me feel I was defeating the purpose of using cloth nappies. I ordered two sets of beautiful ones from weenotions, but hubby felt they were too small to be effective, he also felt we didn’t have enough to make it worth while using them, as we were always running out. My solution was not to stop using them, but to instead buy more, hahaha. This time I kept a search on the preloved sites and found 25 cheeky wipes for £10 including postage, bargain and they are like new, they are also not far off double the size of the weenotions wipes (although not as pretty). We  use them for bums, hands and face, highchairs, they are washed at 60 degrees and smell super fresh after washing, we then just pop them back in the wipe Tupperware. Sometimes we just use water, chamomile tea or a mix of tea and coconut oil, we just keep trying new solutions. For out and about I had a mini wipe bag which worked brilliantly for the clean wipes, I then threw the dirty ones in the nappy wet bag. ( I say had, as I have misplaced it and am finding out and about a bit more of a pain again). Hubby is still not convinced by them (out of stubbornness I think) and I caught him whispering to KW3 this morning, that he would buy her a packet of wipes today so she wasn’t to worry! I haven’t bought a pack of wipes for over a month and I am not about to start again now!

 

I could pledge to make sure I didn’t use plastic bags again, but I have been trying this for years, and regularly forget the bags for life and have to resort to supermarket plastic bags, oops! I will try harder though!

Reusable/ cloth sanitary protection (CSP) is something I don’t think I am prepared to tackle just at the moment, maybe sometime in the future. But for me, I find it all a bit icky and the thought of soaking and then washing etc just feels me with dread, the less I experience of the joy that is my period the better! The materials do look very pretty and soft but as I am more of a tampax girl, the whole CSP is not really for me, although pantiliner a I may consider…

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So the small changes I am currently debating are reusable kitchen roll and reusable sandwich bags/ covers. Alongside careful meal planning so less food waste.

The reusable kitchen roll will have to wait until I am back at work to invest in but in theory is sounds pretty good.

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My pledge is going to be to use less materials in packed lunches for myself, hubby and KW2 ( KW1 has school dinners). So I am going to Order some of the nice reusable sandwich bags to begin with…

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It is definitely important that everyone tries to create less waste and even just a small step is closer to zero than before…

 

Update*****

Hubby has decided to get involved so has finally set up a compost bin, so we will have less food waste too!