Even though I tried we still couldn't escape from all of Owens appointments last week while Alex was off work.
Tuesday, Owen had an eye appointment at the hospital. As it was an rescheduled appointment made through the post and not one I had made, I didn't know who I was seeing. The letter didn't detail this and after phoning the number the receptionist couldn't tell me either.
Owen usually sees an Ophthalmologist, they are doctors who deal with all aspects of eye care including Vision services, Medical eye care, Surgical eye care, Diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions and also Plastic surgery.
Last time at Owens eye clinic he also saw an Optometrists, They mainly focus on regular vision care and prescribe glasses and contacts. That day we were taken to the waiting area to wait to see the Optometrists.
Owens eye problems started in while in Special Care. Babies born before 30 weeks have retinal eye exams, the first one being when they are about 4 weeks of age. They are checking for a condition called Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)
During pregnancy, the blood vessels in a baby's eyes begin to develop at around 16 weeks and by 34 weeks the blood vessels in the eye are well enough developed that the retina has a good blood supply.
When babies are born early, the blood vessels on the retina are not fully developed. After birth, the vessels may begin to grow too quickly. that they damage the Retina. ROP is the most common cause of childhood blindness. There are 5 stages of ROP; stage 1 is mild up to stage 5 is total retinal detachment.
At one of Owens eye exams he was found to have stage 1 ROP which they would check again in a few weeks to see if it had got better or worse. The next booked appointment was actually the day after we were discharged and ended up being my first solo outing with both my twins. That appointment showed no change. After two more appointments Owen finally got the all clear from ROP, But was found to be longsighted, this may improve as he grows or he may need glasses.... Glasses I can live with.
I have always questioned Owens sight, Owens eyes looked too low and unfocused he would just stare with blankness. People would ask how much I thought he could see. Even now people ask if he can see as he is not always fully focused. The answer I don't know, I know he sees something, but his sight is definitely variable. I know at the previous Ophthalmologist appointment apart from being longsighted nothing else was found to be physically wrong. I do wonder if its the PVL raising its ugly head again. I wonder how much of what Owen eyes see, his brain computes.
I read about a condition called Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) it's a condition that is caused by a brain problem more than an eye problem. When reading about CVI it suggests by doing certain exercises you can retrain your brain to see more clearly.
Anyway going back to Tuesday, Learning that our appointment wasn't with the Ophthalmologist I did feel slightly disappointed as I was armed with questions. The Optometrists proceeded to shine a light in Owens eyes, which he failed to follow. I explain how I felt his sight seemed variable and asked why? She didn't answer and got off her chair and went over to a drawer to search for something more "fun" for Owen to look at, She pulled out a pencil with mickey mouse on top.... Very exciting? Owen still failed to follow, but when she went back to the light he started to follow. "Yes he is definitely variable"
I tried to ask her a few more question but she wasn't very forthcoming. She did however give me a slip to make an appointment to see the Ophthalmologist. Unfortunately the appointment isn't till October so I guess I will just wait and add my unanswered questions to my very long list of unanswered questions.