Friday, February 18, 2011

Out Of The Blue

Funny how a few simple words uttered by a virtual stranger can change everything.

Late last year, it was pointed out to me that one of Holly's eyes often rolls in. I am embarrassed to say I had never noticed. I guess when you spend all day everyday with someone, their idiosyncrasies go unnoticed, as you tend to see the whole person rather than the individual parts, if that makes sense?

I didn't really think it mattered too much, a lazy eye. It was a part of who she was, something she might grow out of? I thought I would mention it next time we saw our doctor. But he spotted it first, as soon as he saw her. Six days later we were sitting in a consulting room at the hospital while they preformed eye sight tests on my sweet girl. I knew it was bad, when, with her good eye covered, she could not make out the pictures until they were little more than a foot away from her. But what came next stunned me.

'Legally blind in her right eye'

How did I not know? She has spent everyday of her life with me, almost three years and I never knew my little girl could only see me with one eye.

Suddenly though I feel like my rose coloured glasses have been swiped from me and a lot of things make sense. Holly has always been cautious and shy of people, she often trips over her own feet and gets annoyed when I try to guide her out of the way of others coming towards her. Now I see these things for what they are. Not cute character traits but rather the result of her compromised eye sight.

She has a long road ahead of her, ahead of us. To try and reclaim some level of sight in her eye. The doctor spoke of further testing, patching, an operation. It all feels a bit daunting at the moment but if it means she will be able to see better, it will all be worth it in the end.


  1. Hugs n Kisses to you and your family. For us it was not eyes but rather ears - when we were told 'profoundly deaf' my little world crashed - however, in this case they got it wrong really really wrong but for a small amount of time I walked around lost . . .
    Kisses to Holly

    ps: 32 quilts will make their way to Christchurch next week :)

  2. oh that must have been such a shock to hear. my nearly 4 year old had undiagnosed glue ear for a long time when she was nearly 2- I was wondering why she wasn't talking much and when the doctor finally diagnosed glue ear and said she hears things like she is underwater I felt absolutely terrible! Thankfully all better now, I hope the road ahead for Holly goes well and she is able to reclaim some sight, thinking of you both.

  3. Biggest of hugs to you, Holly-Bean and all of your family.

    Felicity x

  4. Oh Lou, what a shock for you! I don't think any of us want to think anything is 'wrong' with our perfect babies, you're right we are just too close to see it most of the time. A very close friend's daughter has had this same problem & around the same age it was discovered. She started school this year & her sight is much better. It will be worth it in the end..xx

  5. You are both in our thoughts. The little girl we are adopting has eye issues and we are unclear at this point if she has any vision at all. Hope it all turns out ok for your beautiful girl!

  6. Oh Lou,
    as much of a shock it must have been, you can be thankful it has now been picked up and you can make those adjustments and get on top of it.
    My heart goes out to you though - Holly is such a gorgeous sweet girl.
    Rach xx

  7. Hang in there. I know it will be very hard to hand your little girl over to the care of these Dr's but she will gain so much from it.
    Having lived with a blind person for nearly 10 years I often forget that he is almost totally blind in one eye. You see them for who they are as a person, not the shell that the live in. (((hugs)))

  8. Hi Lou. My brother had the same thing as a child. He had an operation when he was quite young to straighten his eye and then wore glasses with prisms in them to work they eye and improve it's strenght and the sight in it. As a teenager, he wore specially developed contact lenses with prisms in them. They were prototypes in the 90s so I am sure they are readily available now. I have one eye (lost one in a car accident years ago) and I can truly say that I rarely miss it. I drive and have adapted well to life with mono-vision. I actually think it's an advantage sometimes as I already see in 2D and therefore find it easier to compose photographs and I think it's of benefit to my applique and art. If you ever want to ask questions, please do hon.

  9. Hi there, I read your post with a very strange feeling of deja vu - it was like going back in time and seeing my mother in your shoes.

    I am 36 and I have no sight in my left eye, just fuzzy blurry images. My right eye has completely taken over, while my left eye kind of opts out, allowing my right eye to see everything for me.

    If I cover my right eye I can see fuzz, and make out some shapes and colours.

    Complicating things further is that my right eye is extremely shortsighted, requiring glasses/contacts for me to be able to read the blackboard etc. Glasses don't help the left eye at all.

    I just wanted to post to tell you a little about my life as I am sure you are wondering what life has in store for your lovely girl.

    I didn't get glasses till I was four. I recently asked my mum why it took that long to tell that I couldn't see anything. I think I upset her a bit with the question, but I couldn't understand it, as without my glasses I am a fumbling mess and wondered how that had manifested as a toddler and pre-schooler.

    Mum said in reply that I as a toddler/pre-schooler just loved books and I would sit and read for hours, with the book held up close to my face. I could read books when I was four, she thought I was really intelligent and book-wormy!

    I used to pretend to see things, as I knew what was expected of me and I wanted to please the adults in my life. You know how as a mum you point things out to your kid - I used to say ''wow'' etc even though I couldn't see what was being discussed.

    I didn't know any different, I thought everyone was like me, so I never told my parents that there was something wrong.

    I guess what I am saying is I think it is awesome you have picked this up so QUICKLY!

    Because now as an adult, and all through my teens, no one can tell that I only have sight in one eye, as I have learned to adjust. I can catch a ball, drive a car, do everything! Your daughter will also be able to do EVERYTHING she wishes in life.

    I became a journalist with amazing powers of observation required...!

    The only way this affects me is:

    1. I can't watch 3D movies and see the special effects, it looks like a normal movie (whoop de doo).
    2. I find my right eye gets a bit tired after a lot of computer work (but doesn't everyones eyes).
    3. Doctors and optometrists will counsel against doing stuff like mowing lawns with protective googles - it is very important that I protect my ''good eye'' of course. Gets me out of mowing the lawn....!
    4. One sport I cannot do is play tennis as I am left handed. I cannot extend my arm with the racket and hit the ball as it is just too much of a stretch. So yes, there is a bit of un-co-ness involved.

    You may hear about sportspeople or others losing the sight in their eye when they are adults. This is different, in a way it is better to not have the sight at all than lose it later as you learn to adapt, and I have depth of field, perspective etc.

    I know my Mum feels bad about my eyes, but I have always said to her - life is great - it is NO BIG DEAL to me.

    I hope this helps you a little bit - I think your daughter looks lovely and you sound like a great Mum.

    Take care.

  10. Blessings and Peace be with you...

  11. Oh wow, keeping you and your little girl in my thoughts and prayers. It must all feel completely overwhelming but take heart because I am sure things will turn out well - it is amazing what they can do for such conditions. My husband had a lazy eye when he was a child, his mum pushed for the surgery to be done where as his dad was reluctant but it went ahead and it was a success. You will probably be surprised at how well her eye does once things are corrected.

  12. wow - how cool is it that tess stopped by your blog and was able to share such uplifting news to you in what must be a distressful time. i think your little girl will adjust fine because she has you as her mum. all will be well.

  13. I hope everything goes really well for your daughter. Hugs to you as it must be a bit scary for you at the moment not really knowing the outcome of tests and things for her.

  14. Thank you all for your kind responses, it is very reassuring to hear all the positive stories. Tess, thank you for sharing your story, it has been very inspiring and has answered many of the questions I had. You are all wonderful!

  15. Oh my! As you said - our children are perfect as they are! I hope your little one gets the help she needs. Life is full of surprises - this was a big one indeed.

    Big Hug,

  16. Hi your story and Tess's has really touched me.

    I've only just discovered your blog via living in the land of Chocolate. I too have a left lazy eye and my story is much the same as Tess's. Only my eye was operated on at 6 months and I wore glasses from then. My lazy eye was very noticeable and so bad that there are few photos of me as a small baby as my mum couldn't bear them. I still have my first pair of glasses and they have ribbons on them to tie them onto me.

    At 12 I stopped wearing glasses when I became very self conscious of them. Mum was concerned but Drs told her my eyes would not get any worse. They were right, I loved not wearing glasses and as my right eye's sight was good and that eye had completely taken over seeing for me I got along well without glasses.

    If I cover up my right eye, its like I am seeing through vaseline in my left eye. I would be legally blind without my right eye too.

    I too cant watch 3D movies nor do I have real depth perception. Which means never being a pilot. And ball sports were not easy. I do bump into things on my left side a little bit, but mainly when I am rushing.

    But with one eye you can still drive a car.
    i also think it helps me draw really well and take great photos.

    I now need glasses to read as I have got older, being long sighted in my right eye and a real benefit is that I only need one contact lens.

    I have two children neither have a lazy eye. But I do understand it can skip a generation.
    My lazy eye makes me different from most people, its me and it really is not a big deal, I don't know any different.

    Good luck with your journey, your daughter will be absolutely fine.


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