The photoshoot for our book

Over the past few months (while on maternity leave), I have been putting together a book to raise awareness of getting little ones eyes tested. It will hopefully also help children and parents no what to expect. So many people are unaware it is even possible to test children who can’t read and talk, and are always intrigued how we knew they needed glasses. In a nutshell we didn’t know; there was a sign with KW2 but I was totally unaware with KW3! On my main vision page, ‘All things related to Kiddiewink’s Vision’ it explains more about getting them tested and why I believe it is so important and how I find the current guidance confusing and not good enough!

The book is called ‘Alfie Talks About… Eye Tests’ and I am just weighing up the most economical way of printing and publishing for those people who want it. Self publishing is easier but can be more costly to produce, I also can’t do the suprise on the back page if I self-publish, decisions, decisions…  Initially the book was just a record for us, but a number of people, opticians, schools etc have said they would love a copy, so now I need to work out the most economical way. If anyone has any tips or advice, I would love to hear it.

Below is a sneak preview of some of the shots that were taken, I can’t include any I am using in the book, so here are some of the ones we are not using.

Utterly amazed

Kiddiewink 3 has taken to her glasses like a duck to water. Since the moment she put them on she has barely pulled them down. The times she has, it has been when sat in the car, or rubbing her eyes. Absolutely speechless…we were honestly expecting to be met with a minibattle, or at least a little resistance, but no, she simply wears them… Admittedly that may not always be the case, but for now she is happy. Relieved is an understatement.

My baby kiddiewink wears glasses…

Late afternoon we got the phone call I have been eagerly awaiting; kiddiewink 3’s glasses had arrived. The lady we usually deal with had already left for the day so I was faced with a dilemma, part of me wanted to wait until tomorrow when we were due to be going there for photoshoot for my eye test book and Sharon could fit them, but I couldn’t rest knowing they were there waiting!
The hubby also arrived home earlier than expected, meaning he would get to come with us! I have been both nervous and excited about getting glasses for my youngest so now was the moment of truth.

Excitingly kicking her legs and bouncing on my knee was her reaction to the new addition, she gazed around the room taking everything in. From that moment Our little superstar has hardly taken them off, occasionally she pulls them down but accepts them being put back up straight away! We honestly can’t believe it… she even wore them in the bath and when having her hair washed!

Kiddiewink 2 keeps telling her she looks beautiful and kiddiewink 1 is a bit miffed she hasn’t got them but is accepting it all pretty well really. We might have to save up to buy her a pair without prescription lenses, it would make her year!

 

They have arrived!

So…. Just had a phone call from the opticians to say Kiddiewink 3’s glasses have arrived! The main lady we deal with has left for the day but is in tomorrow, I feel really guilty but I can’t wait that long! We are having the photoshoot for the book tomorrow so I know it would make sense to wait but I don’t think I can! If hubby gets home before they shut I will go tonight so hubby can be there, if not at least we can get professional pictures of the moment she puts them on! If she does get them, we can recreate the moment tomorrow!

Can’t believe how excited I am, like a kid at Christmas haha.

So proud of my littlest Kiddiewink!

The opticians had a space a week earlier than planned, so we headed there after a settling in session with the childminder and adventure babies! She was an absolute superstar from start to finish! Not a tear or moan when the drops were put in, I then put her in my trusty mei tei and we headed to get her some lunch to pass the time. She sang away and then wolfed her lunch down in the waiting room. She didn’t moan once during the test and was fascinated by the different lenses and instruments used. The only slight difficulty was towards the end, when she just wanted to grab the torch so got a bit wriggly. Her prescription is as originally suspected +11 in both eyes, bless her little cotton socks, although her glasses will be +7, to take into account that babies are not usually prescribed unless they need a stronger prescription than +4.

She happily let Wendy and Sharon try pairs on her for size, and even smiled, it sounds daft but I am convinced she knows what a bit about what’s going on. She sees her brother wearing them and is fascinated by them, so fingers crossed she’ll take to them like a duck to water. We were advised to choose the ‘baby’ tomato Glasses first as they are super soft and flexible, not as much choice with only three colours but I trust Wendy’s judgement completely and we have plenty of time to choose from the wider range. We opted for the pink as my eldest saw her in the White when we took photos for my book and she didn’t like them. Now it is just a waiting game until they arrive…

On another note, we are getting the professional photos done next week for my book, which is very exciting indeed. Hopefully by Christmas I can have it on Amazon, if I decide I want to try the self publishing route, although the cardboard glasses to decorate and mirror I was hoping to include will be too difficult to organise this way, so they will have to feature for close family and friends, or people ordering direct from me!

Exciting times ahead, just a shame things will happen super slowly with me returning to work next week, I won’t have as much time to spend developing books and resources! Come on that lottery win….

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If you like tomato glasses but your local optician doesn’t stock them you could ask them to order them from
http://www.totsspecs.co.uk

Kiddiewink 3 after the drops, waiting for her eye test.

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Prescription Swimming Goggles

After lots of umming and ahhing, we have decided to take the plunge and order kiddiewink 2 some prescription swimming goggles. He loves swimming, particularly swimming under the water, he sees himself as a deep sea diver in training…

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He can swim without armbands, not amazingly well, but he is getting better all the time, and he is desperate to get the stick from the bottom of the pool. He can do it with help but is not quite there. I have been watching him in his swimming lessons for awhile and occasionlly he seems to set off doing the wrong stroke and it has got me wondering if his ears aren’t enough to listen properly in the loud swimming pool enviroment. It could also be simply that he is a three year old not listening of course, but I am sure if he could see, focusing on the task in hand may be somewhat easier.

I asked him the other week if he could see what the instructors were doing, he looked at me like I was a complete muppet. “Nope because I haven’t got my glasses on have I”

I had seen people buying them online for a bargain price of £30, but these would only match the +7, +8 not the astigmatism. The optometrist explained that laws had changed and it shouldnt be possible to buy prescription eye products online for children, so I have decided to spend considerably more to get a pair properly fitted and to his exact prescription. It will cost around £100!(I could have a spa day and night in a hotel for the price of a pair of goggles-bonkers). But hopefully it will be worth it, hoping to bring his prescription check forward to ensure they are made with the most up to date prescription. It would be just our luck, that we’d order him some now, and then his prescription would change in February.

On another note, both children behaved quite embarrassingly at our last visit to the opticians. We had gone to try on goggles for KW2, so I suspect KW1 was bitter about that. But both of them were just a bit bratty really, although I think it was amplified because daddy was there. KW2 was stuffing his pockets with sweets and then arguing with his daddy about it, KW1 was trying on every pair of glasses she could but wanting us to admire each one. They weren’t particularly bad… No tantrums, (well not quite). The person we saw was different to the usual so KW1 was gutted as she had wanted to show her what the tooth fairy at brought her (don’t ask, that’s another story). KW2 was just complete blasé about the whole experience and a lot less chatty than usual, but again the staff member was quieter. I am hoping our next trip is better, although taking all three of them for KW3’s eye test tomorrow may be a challenge…

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Just want to know now!

Now I know kiddiewink 3 is very far sighted, I just want to know how far sighted we are actually talking. +11 without drops so possibly even higher than that! I just keep looking at her and feeling sorry for her that she can’t see properly! She has been a bit of an unhappy bunny this last week; teething again I think, but I do keep thinking is it her eyes too (only now I know there is a problem). I am the type that once I know something,I just want to move forward and sort it, to say I am ‘doing the hubby’s head in’ is putting it mildly, I can’t stop talking about it and just want to know now and have her glasses NOW!

Despite not realising she couldn’t see clearly, now I know I am seeing signs. Whether they are only just happening, or whether it is my heightened awareness I am not sure. But Now when I watch her playing with her toys, I watch her eyes intently and I they do indeed go a little cross eyed the closer the toy gets to the face. She also rubs her eyes a lot -which can also be a sign! Having one kiddie wink in glasses already I thought I was paranoid and on one occasion prior to her eye test, she did go cross eyed, I even got it on camera. Everyone reassured me that she was just getting used to seeing her thumb when sucking it! I did wonder then, but forgot about it, as she never did it after thwt, she also seems so interested in everything around her. She looks and grabs everything she sees and smiles at everybody.

I am starting to get nervous about tomorrow. What if her eyes are considerably worse than initially suggested? What if there is a bigger problem? How will she find the drops? Will her glasses look daft with milk bottle lenses? Will we get her to keep them on?
Will Wendy even be happy to prescribe her? She was so far sighted she was going to discuss her case with other professionals before she was happy to prescribe her, with her being so tiny, if they are not sure either, we would have to wait for the hospital appointment, I so hope that isn’t the case though, as the it could be 13 weeks.

Keeping everything crossed that tomorrow goes smoothly…

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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