I spy with my little eye(s)…

Since Emerie’s cataract diagnosis, it’s been greatly on our minds if Harper and Reagan would share this issue and require the same procedure. Because they are identicals, we know there’s high probability that all three will share lots of things, good and bad. The doctor told us it could go either way since there is no way to know exactly when her cataracts developed.

We spent our Friday afternoon at the eye doctor, hanging out with both girls in an office less than equipped for 70+ degree weather (that’s hot for here ok!). Emerie had a fun one-on-one afternoon with Miss Chris while we took the other two in.

Unlike their sister, both girls were quite cooperative for the doctor, with Harper only making one peep from the eye drops. Reagan didn’t fuss at all and actually cooperated with great eye contact with Dr. Winkle. She was a pro!

While we waited for the girls’ eyes to dilate and the doctor tended to another patient, we entertained the girls with Baby Shark and Patty-cake. They explored the exam room and tried to climb up the exam chairs. They also enjoyed us sliding and spinning around on the doctor’s chair and some brief toddler dancing. I mean how cute is this…

Both eye exams proved what we were hoping for. Neither Harper or Reagan have any visible cataracts and both present with good vision right now. What a load of stress off our shoulders!

Harper was a little less excited at the checkup, and after further analyzing she has enough of a astigmatism that she is right on the edge of needing glasses. As the doctor explained it to us, her eyes are shaped more like a football than the roundness of a soccer ball. It’s something to monitor as she grows, but she doesn’t need any correction yet. With some luck she might not need it at all! Kids often outgrow it so fingers crossed.

Reagan also has a minor astigmatism, although less significant than Harper’s. All in all, it looks like Emerie will be the kiddo in glasses as a toddler and we’ll recheck the other two on their next birthday.

Emerie continues to wear a patch an hour per day. We’ve mildly slacked on that time the last two days with her cold making her unbearably upset during patch time. When she doesn’t have the cold, distractions keep her from full baby rage and time passes quickly. Post surgery patch time moods should also improve, as she will be able to see out of the corrected eye better.

A few other fun things with the Douglets this week. Emerie started choking on a cracker (not fun) but when Craig tried to get it out of her mouth, she chomped down really hard on his finger. Would you ever believe this adorable face would do such a thing?! Silly baby.

Big Emerie smiles

Outside playtime is a new daily joy, especially with the gorgeously sunny week we are having! The girls have taken to it quite well and some wonderful coworkers gave us several new toys, like a playhouse! Everyone still likes to eat rocks, grass, dirt, and anything else available outside, but they also like to open and close the playhouse windows and climb on the little tike slide. Emerie has even figured out how to climb it with her shoes on and then go down on her butt, unassisted. When did they get so grown up?!

Playtime with friends

They also run three different directions at all times, so outside time can be stressful! Everyone is getting used to shoe wearing since we are outside now. At first they walked around like dogs in new booties or just stood still looking at us; now they are pros and run around in their little summer jellies.

Saturday morning the three discovered escape from the parents is possible through the tiny dog door in the dining room. I didn’t think they would figure that one out so quick…thanks a lot animals…Harper made it through in no time and was running across the deck by the time I made it outside!

It appears teamwork is starting to occur, like this video proves! They are started to briefly work together on things (when they aren’t smacking each other with toys), so I know we aren’t too far from the trying to knock the playpen down in a triple escape effort.

Post Lenticonus Cataract

When you hear the word cataract, do you think of fading eye sight affecting someone like a grandparent, or generally someone your parents age or older? I definitely did, until now.

I never considered the idea that one of my children, at a year of age no less, could be presenting with pediatric cataract eye sight issues.

Emerie has had a bit of a lazy, wandering left eye the past few months. We forgot to ask about it at her year appointment, but had a follow up a couple weeks later for her ears. The pediatrician immediately referred us to a pediatric ophthalmologist to determine the underlying cause. After two appointments, the doctors confirm she indeed has a cataract on the lens of her left eye, known as a Post Lenticonus Cataract. As explained to us, the vision in her left is clouded around the center from the cataract, sort of like wearing a dirty contact that doesn’t come out and blurs vision.

Cataracts can actually occur at any age and develop over time or be present at birth. We estimate Em started showing eye symptoms just shy of her first birthday and don’t believe she was born with them or that they were caused by being a preemie. Harper and Reagan do not present with anything, but because they are identicals, everyone gets a checkups earlier than the typical 18 month eye exam. We have appointments scheduled for them in several weeks.

One constant reminder for myself, as we go through this new journey, is to stay optimistic. It’s a good thing we discovered it early, and all about perspective! We could dwell that it’s so terrible and scary, that she’s so young with this issue; or we can look at it as early detection gives us better odds at fixing her eyesight for her life, even if there will be a bit of a struggle to get where we need to be.

The first few years of life are incredibly important for eyesight. In fact, up to about age eight eyes continue to develop before leveling out for adulthood. In addition to the cataract, Emerie’s brain is teaching itself to rely on her good eye because it’s fully functional (and perfect according to the doc!). This can be even more detrimental if the problem is not fixed, and actually make her bad eye’s vision worse. Patching the good eye for a short time each day aims to slowly retrain her brain to use the other eye too; something Miss Emerie is not going to like.

The tiny patches arrived this week. In about a month we will go in for day surgery, where her clouded lens will be replaced with a new, clear one. Typically kids this young don’t receive a new lens and have to wear a contact until they are older and a new one can be inserted. In our case, the surgeon believes she is big enough and says it is better to replace hers now and we will reassess as she matures. She will also need glasses once her eye heals up. It should be quite the adventure to see how her sisters respond to something on her face. I’m told once she gets used to glasses; she won’t even tug at them, but who knows what Reagan and Harper will do!

The first day of patching went better than anticipated. In fact, Emerie did about 40 minutes with minimal fussing. I had angry, screaming Em pictured in my mind for this, so it was nice to see that with a little distraction she would forget about it for a few moments at a time. We purchased some fun, blinking light type toys that she can see better through the blurriness and that helped entertain her a bit. The key is to only bring them out during patch time so they stay exciting. The real hit was giving her a snack in each hand. Can’t pull off the eye patch when you are double fisting some vege-straws!

The second day was a bit grumpier, but we made it to the targeted hour of patch time. Once it’s on for a few minutes, distractions definitely make her more cooperative. It also helps when we put it on her correctly…and let her run around with her sisters in the living room.

Surprisingly neither Harper or Reagan seemed to notice the patch and went about their exploration/play time in the living room right along with their sister. Every few minutes Emerie would tug at the patch in irritation, but not scream about it and we made a point to shift her focus onto another toy or snack before she became mad. Hopefully we will get this new activity in our daily routine down with minimal issues.

We would appreciate prayers- most of you that know me, know I am a little weird when it comes to eye issues of any kind. This is not one of those times I can just avoid it because it makes me queasy to think about. We are hoping for the best!