Thursday, November 1, 2012


OK, ignore the dirty/snotty face in these pictures.  I hadn’t planned to take Selah’s picture, but she saw my camera and wanted me to photograph her, which is RARE for Selah.  So, of course I took advantage of the “right here, right now” opportunity and snapped some pics of Selah while she was cooperative.


Oh, ignore the matted crazy hair, too.  Remember, I didn’t realize anyone would ever see these photos of Selah!!!


So, the reason I’m posting these snotty-nosed, dirty-faced, matted-hair pictures of Selah is because I want to talk about strabismus.

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OK, remember to ignore the distractions of the dirty/snotty face! 


Do you notice how Selah’s left eye turns inward just a tad in the photo above?  That’s a type of strabismus.


Selah saw her ophthalmologist yesterday to discuss her strabismus and lack of depth perception.  Selah’s occupational therapist has mentioned this issue to us several times, and her pediatrician mentioned it at her 2-year-old well check, recommending we see Selah’s ophthalmologist immediately.


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Selah’s ophthalmologist determined that Selah’s left eye is much weaker than her right eye.  The eye doctor believes Selah’s brain has “turned off” Selah’s left eye completely, most likely because it was seeing double at some point.  Did you know children’s brains are able to do that—simply tell one eye that it no longer sees at all so that it won’t see blurry and/or double?!?!


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Once the brain “turns off” the eye, it becomes weak and lazy.  We’ve started to notice Selah’s left eye laziness more and more often lately, particularly in photos.  It’s challenging to watch Selah’s eyes during the day because we’re focused on following her around and keeping her safe.  When Selah sits in her high chair at meals, I notice it lots more because Selah’s sitting still and facing me. 


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There are also times that both eyes cross somewhat, as in the photo above.  I’m not sure why this happens.


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And in this photo, Selah’s right eye appears to be the one that is crossed while the left eye appears normal.  Matt (my hubby) thinks it appears this way in this photo because Selah is actually looking at something off to her left side (in the direction that her right eye is looking), but Selah’s left eye is too weak and no longer working, so it can’t look as far over to the side as Selah’s right eye is able to do.  Clear as mud?


There are a variety of reasons behind strabismus, so we’re not positive that Selah’s strabismus is due to her left eye seeing poorly in the past, thus the brain turning it off, or if it’s due to a variety of other reasons.  It might be due to increased intracranial pressure, or it could be due to Selah’s brain malformations.  It’s going to take some trial and error to figure it out.


The starting point to curing Selah’s weak eye begins with forcing her to no longer depend upon her strong eye (her right eye).  Many children with strabismus will use a patch to cover the strong eye, forcing the weaker eye to become stronger, helping the brain to turn the weak eye back on.


We knew there was no way Selah would ever leave a patch on her eye.  In fact, Selah’s pediatrician laughed and mumbled, “Good luck trying to patch that girl!” when he noticed that her left eye was weaker than her right eye.


So, Selah’s ophthalmologist explained another method to help strengthen the weak eye by using dilation drops in the stronger eye.  This disables the clear vision in the stronger eye, which then forces the brain to turn the weaker eye back on, thus strengthening it.


The ophthalmologist explained that Selah isn’t going to like either technique (patching or drops), but that’s the first step in determining if her strabismus can be cured without surgery.


So, tomorrow Selah will start using the dilation drops.  We will only use them in the evenings, beginning at 6PM.  The eye will only be dilated for a few hours before she falls asleep, but hopefully those few hours of forcing Selah’s left eye to turn on and try to work will be enough to help Selah’s strabismus.  The eye doctor warned me that Selah’s going to HATE these eye drops, but this is necessary. Sad smile


If you have any experience with strabismus, I’d love to hear from you!!!  This is a new one for us. Smile  And, as always, thanks for praying for Selah!!!

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