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Cake’s Strabismus

February 8, 2011

When I started taking Cake to playgroups and preschools I got asked a lot about her glasses.  It isn’t often that you see a four year old with glasses after all but one that’s been wearing her glasses for two years?  Yeah, not too common.  Cake has a condition called exotropia strabismus meaning that when she looks at an object one eye fixates on that object and the other eye fixates on a convergence angle greater than zero, meaning her eye is ‘lazy’ to put it simply.  She only has strabismus in one eye luckily but the poor thing is also terribly farsighted meaning she can see things really far away but put a picture two inches from her face and she can’t see a thing.  Because of the strabismus, she also has problems with depth perception.  Very hard to watch your baby trying to pick up a pencil and missing it a few times by the way, the glasses help with that but it’s going to be a lifelong struggle.


taken on my iphone at the pediatric ophthalmologists office.

This is what Cake sees when she isn’t wearing her glasses.

Anyway, as I was saying I get a lot of questions about her glasses especially from worried parents about how we could tell she needed them.  And to be quite honest when Cake was just two if someone had suggested that she needed vision correction I would have completely disregarded it because neither S. Geek or I wear glasses.  She could recognize all her letters, talk about the pictures on the page of a book and didn’t seem any clumsier than any other two year old, in fact, she could walk the balance beam at gymnastics like nobody’s business!  That is until the day when she was looked up at me while eating her breakfast and I watched her eye drift.

I called and made an appointment that day with our GP because I was quite concerned.  We had spent a weekend away from home and all sorts of horrible things were dancing through my head about what kind of infection she could have contracted to do that to her eye.  Over reaction but hey, these are the things that happen to you when you become a parent I guess.  After seeing the GP, we were referred to a paediatric specialist in  ophthalmology.  It was a bit intimidating at first but Cake did really well in the office answering all the questions the doctor had for her and identifying all the pictures that she was able to see.  She didn’t even cry when the doctor put the drops in her eyes, which blurred her vision and dilated her pupils.


This was taken after our visit to the doctor but before the glasses were ready.

Cake also gets to have some special prisms in her glasses that cost a LOT will hopefully correct her strabismus over time.  Though there are surgeries available we have opted not to go that route since it’s obviously not life threatening and I don’t really love the idea of someone cutting into my daughter’s eyeball.  Ew.  When her glasses are on, both her eyes are straight but as soon as they come off that pesky eye just does it’s own thing.


I’m used to it now, at first I felt a lot of guilt about it since strabismus is a hereditary thing and it comes from my side of the family.  But now I feel as though it’s something to distinguish us by.  She is Cake with the glasses and I am her Mom, the one with the blue hair.  Just wait until I go pink in a few months. When kids ask Cake about her glasses, she just says that she couldn’t see anything without them and for the most part kids are happy with that answer.  Though expensive, there are loads of different options for kids glasses these days.  Her first pair was a pink wire rimmed one which was great because they were pulled off her face quite often by little playmates.  Her second pair was a plastic frame which she by far prefers.  Because her vision is so poor we opted to have her lenses thinned even with the thinning she still has coke bottle lenses! we also got the anti scratch because she was only two at the time and we couldn’t trust her to take care of her glasses properly.  And to be honest I’d probably get that all the time regardless of her age because really even if they got scratched by accident I know I wouldn’t want to be looking through a big scratch in front of my eye all the time so why would she?



Cake at the glasses store trying on frames.

When Cake finally got her glasses we had no problems convincing her to wear them.  Though we did ease her into it, it started out with when she read books and when she watched tv then we made it mandatory for her to wear them.  After about 10 days she was wearing them full time, though even now she still doesn’t put them on in the morning until I tell her to.


One of the happiest days of my life was the day Cake got her glasses.  I took her out for a walk and we stepped out of the front door and she was in utter amazement.  She looked at all the pebbles in the front step, (we have a pebbled step so they are permanent) and she got down on her hands and knees and started examining the ground and said ‘Mommy, who glued all these rocks to the steps?’  Then she stepped off and walked over to the flowers and wanted to know what was all over the flowers.  The things she was looking at were petals.  She had never seen anything with such detail before, it broke my heart.


Nay is now the age Cake was when we noticed her vision change and according to our doctor strabismus usually presents before the age of four so I’ve been paying close attention to Nay and will be getting him assessed as soon as I can.  It’s not going to have as big as an impact with me the second time around I think.  Really it’ll just mean that I’ve got to spread the glasses budget a bit thinner than I do now.


Here’s a link to read more about strabismus if you’re so inclined.




2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 8, 2011 7:35 pm

    What a fantastic account of handling your little girl’s eyesight. You sound as though you’ve been absolutely fantastic with her. So supportive and thoughtful.

    I love your description of how she came out of the front door and noticed the pebbles. I think I might have cried.

    I’m really looking forward to following along with your blog.


  2. February 9, 2011 2:51 am

    A very sweet and informative post. Your Cake is such a little sweetheart. I’m so glad that it only takes a pair of glasses for her to enjoy everything that this world has to offer her and I hope she can delight in it all!

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