Yesterday we had a followup appointment at Children’s Hospital and we got good news! It looks like DS will not need surgery to correct his eye crossing! That is the good news. The bad news is that we had to see 3 doctors to get to where we are. That is why I feel so strongly about sharing our experience with other parents (through this blog and by word of mouth). I can’t stress enough how important it is to remember that WE ARE ALL HUMAN. Doctors are human too. Some doctors have more information than others. Some may have read a study that another missed. Go with your gut as a parent. If something concerns you, ask questions about it and get second (and third) opinions if necessary.
When I first took DS to the eye doctor about a year ago, I had noticed that his eye seemed to cross in when he was tired. When I took him to the local eye doctor he suggested that nothing was wrong with DS and that he “just had that kind of face” where it appeared that his eye crossed. (It’s called pseudo strabismus.) This immediately felt wrong to me because I had never before thought his eye looked crossed and it was only at certain times. This led me to find another specialist an hour further south of our home. After she examined DS, (a much more thorough exam) she found crossing and prescribed him a mild prescription for glasses. After further exams, she determined that DS needed surgery to correct the muscles in his eyes. Because I was concerned about him having surgery, I wanted to make sure this was needed and got a third opinion at Children’s Hospital LA. After several exams, (one where we put Atropine drops in DS’ eyes for three days prior to his appointment) his doctor at CHLA wrote for an increase in his glasses prescription. This increase in prescription has corrected his crossing and he will not need surgery. It really does pay to be a worry wart momma sometimes!
I’m so happy that we have been able to spare DS from surgery. He has had enough hospital experience. He fell and broke his arm last summer (probably due to the crossing of his eyes and not having correct depth perception), has had SO MANY visits to eye doctors, and with this recent week of high fever and urinary tract infection, had to be catheterized twice for urine. He’s pretty much over doctor visits. (So am I!)
My point to this post is not for you to lose faith in doctors. We NEED doctors. We also need to trust ourselves because we are with our children more than they are. I should have immediately followed up that first eye doctor’s visit with a second opinion instead of waiting 6 months to “see if it goes away” like he suggested.
P.S. I mentioned to the eye Dr. at CHLA that I was very grateful and wrote a blog about our experience. She was very interested because she has had many parents get very nervous about using the Atropine drops in their child’s eyes. This is where you need to ask lots of questions. Don’t assume that because you went on the internet and looked up Atropine that you know what your doctor is talking about. There are different forms of medications and medicine in general can be very confusing because many things have similar names. (For example: The Mastoid Process is a bone at the base of the skull behind your ear and is named such because it is shaped like a breast. The Mastoid is a honeycomb of air cells in the ear. Mastitis is clogging of the milk ducts in the breast. There are many examples like this in anatomy/physiology.) So voice your concerns with your doctor and ask lots of questions. And, no, the Atropine eye drops are not the same form as the life saving Atropine used in resuscitation. Although Atropine is described as a poison, there are many definitions of what a poison is. In chemistry it means “a substance that retards a chemical reaction or destroys or inhibits the activity of a catalyst.” It’s derived from the belladonna plant and you will find belladonna in many children’s remedies for colic, teething, etc.
So, if you find yourself in a similar situation, ask your doctor about rechecking your child’s vision after Atropine drops before going in for surgery. Atropine drops are pretty “old school” so many doctors have gotten out of the habit of using them.