A little over a year ago M started complaining that it was kind of hard to see things sometimes. She had just had her preK eye screening at school but I knew that is a very basic screening and decided to take her to an optometrist to make sure. This was also right before her appointment with the Neuropsychologist for the Autism diagnosis and I wanted to make sure everything else checked out before going through 2 days of in depth testing.
Fortunately, with referrals from friends, I found a wonderful developmental optometrist in town who works with children and special needs children and also does vision therapy, in our town! After a full examination he determined that her vision was normal but her ocular motor development was delayed. He explained that this was normal with fine motor delay (her fine motor is/was in the 2nd percentile, and ocular motor develops after fine motor). We decided to wait a year, until after she had a semester in Kindergarten, to give her motor skills time to develop and check again.
This winter a month or so before her eye appointment she started to complain her eyes were hurting, and her eyes were often red and watery. Another full exam revealed that her eyes had become worse with serious problems in tracking and focusing. She has what is called Convergence Insufficiency, which is like “lazy eye” but it only occurs when she needs to track or focus, like when trying to read, write or draw, or even sometimes watch TV or play games. She often sees double and her eyes tire very easily. When she tries to focus close up, her eyes shake and her left eye moves outward in the opposite direction or rolls around, unable to focus and work together with her right eye. The doctor suggested waiting 6 months to see if the problem corrects itself but warned me it could also get worse quickly.
After the appointment her eyes were so worn out she just cried all evening, had a bad headache and went to bed early. Since then she complained every day increasingly of eye pain and difficulty concentrating. Then she began to complain of headaches and things looking blurry. Most recently she has also complained of double vision (I think she finally has words & understanding to describe what she is seeing). I wear glasses that have prisms (which is what she will need to help her eyes strengthen and work together) and after trying them once when reading she begs to wear them all the time to make her eyes stop hurting or to do close work. She also tried on Russell’s glasses and said they don’t help at all…and they don’t have the prisms, which shows me that it really is helping her.
Although it has only been just over 2 months I called and moved her appointment up to later this month. I don’t think we can make her wait any longer for glasses and vision therapy. I also believe a lot of what we thought was fine motor delay (difficulty writing and drawing, using her hands to eat instead of utensils) could actually be due to her vision problems. Also some issues we thought here anxiety such as constant stomach aches could be due to her eyes, as the double vision could cause her dizziness and nausea. I hope the doctor will agree to give her at least glasses now to provide her relief for her eyes, because I hate seeing her in pain all the time and I really think this problem is holding her back from meeting her potential. Being able to see properly could even get rid of the aggression she still sometimes displays.
Please pray for a good result and help for Margaret in the coming weeks as we try to get her what she needs to see and feel better.