20/20 Vision

Before my brother went to Kindergarten, he had the standard kiddie eye test. There was no reason to be anxious about this test, since the kid could spot a McDonald’s arch from 2 miles away. We thought for a little while he might be color blind, but he eventually mastered his colors and we stopped worrying.

But that kiddie eye test revealed that my 5 year old brother was basically not seeing out of one of his eyes. He had a lazy eye – it looked as though he was focused on you, but one of his eyes was actually pointed off in left field. By five years old, his brain had learned to ignore the useless signals it was getting fed.

Little boy, big equipment
Little boy, big equipment

That kicked off a year? 18 months? Two years? Of what must have been great suffering on the part of my parents. My brother had to wear patches over his good eye for months and months — taking away a perfectly functioning organ and making him mostly blind. My mom put Garfield stickers on the adhesive patches. My brother didn’t complain. For his entire childhood, he wore glasses with varsuvial flows of dirt layered on top of them. You’ve never seen glasses as dirty as his glasses. He didn’t need glasses for his good eye — doesn’t correct his vision at all now, in fact — only for the eye that couldn’t see. And every week (or two weeks) for what seemed like forever my little baby brother had to be driven down to Yelm (a good hour plus drive) to go to vision therapy …. which in the end could not rescue much more than movement from his bad eye. I think it must have been Saturdays. My mom would take Gospel and I first to my piano lessons, where I would be awful, and then to Yelm for vision therapy that didn’t work for a tiny little kid.

Rough. Mostly on my mom.

So it’s fair to say that I’ve kept a watchful eye on my sons’ vision. Grey is the age now that Gospel was then — which is to say too late. But I’ve verified that he sees out of both eyes previously. However, given this family history I decided there was no time like the present to get his vision checked out, and after about 18 months of procrastinating I finally took him to an eye doctor. It helps that he can read and knows all his numbers and will follow instructions.

He did a fantastic job with everything but the glaucoma test (the puffs). He rattled off letters, proved he wasn’t colorblind and doesn’t seem to have an astigmatism. He didn’t bounce nearly as much as is a five year old’s right. There was a moment or two where I sat wondering what he’d look like with glasses and imagining the lifetime of future nagging that might be in front of me but… nope. Perfectly fine! Come back in another two years or so!

Phew! Now time to see if Thane’s got both eyes working!

Twenty twenty!
Twenty twenty!

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Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

3 thoughts on “20/20 Vision”

  1. I love the fact that, at least on my screen, the Ads by Google under this post are for: Lasik, uveitis (whatever the hell that is), Pearl Vision Eye Exams, and the sinisterly vague “Eye Surgery.” I was hoping to see one for Pirate party supplies or the McDonald’s your brother could spot from two miles away.


  2. I have a similar issue with my eyes. I had a patch, and exercises at that age, and they didn’t really make much of a difference with me either. It’s most visible when I’m very tired, and I’m always conscious of it in situations where eye contact is a factor, like interviews. I always worry that the interviewer will think I’m not making eye contact since only one of my eyes is doing so. I was also very worried about passing it on to my kids, especially because my eye doctor told me it has a hereditary element. When Oldest had her first exam, and I found out she had binocular vision, I was overjoyed. When Youngest went in last year for her first exam, and she put on the 3D glasses and tried to grab the butterfly, I burst into tears. My eye doctor knew how relieved I was and she was tearing up along with me.

    Glad to hear that Grey’s eyes are fine too! Hoping the same for Thane!


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