Child Ophthalmology at Toronto Sick Kids: A Personal Experience
When my daughter, Ellie first did "tummy-time" at 3 months old, she
looked up at me and I noticed she had “googly eyes.” What I mean
is that she would only look up with one eye while her other eye would
remain at an even level. The eyes were not aligned when any upward
movement was tried so it looked as if the "good eye" was wandering.
This is called Strabismus or Brown’s Syndrome. For Ellie, it's
characteristic is the limitation of the elevation of her right eye.
This is due to a malfunction of her upper oblique tendon which
prevents her eye from rotating up. As Ellie's Ophthalmologist at
Toronto's Sick Kids
hospital described to us, “the tendon above her
eye is tight like a steel cable when all tendons in the eye should
respond like elastic bands.”
Interestingly, this upper tendon is the least important of all the
tendons around the eye because Ellie can adjust her head in order to
look up; peripheral and downward vision are much more important for
anyone. However, when she did look up with one eye remaining straight,
two separate images were then sent to the brain and we noticed certain
activities and movements were challenging for her; such as, tripping,
bumping into people or objects, and resisting school work that
included transcribing from blackboard to paper.
Her surgeon, Dr Kraft is a specialized pediatric Ophtalmologist. We
were extremely fortunate to have access to his skill and for Sick Kids
Hospital's extensive services. Ellie became a patient at 8 months old.
Appointments may last several hours; including Occupational Therapy,
drops and then her appointment with Dr Kraft. She always enjoys the
videos and games which are a part of her consult. Sick Kids staff have
patience, humour and use imagination to get the best response from
their little patient. As parents, we decided that the best hope for
Ellie would be to have surgery with the intention of correcting the weak eye and
bringing it in line with the good eye. Glasses and patching would not
work for her and we knew that as time went on she would lose her
vision in her weak eye because her brain would ignore the messages
sent by it as the good eye would overcompensate. As a young patient,
Ellie is thankful to know that when she goes in for surgery she will
go to sleep by way of a bubble gum flavoured gas rather than a needle.
She is happy to be allowed to take her favourite stuffy and know that
she can pick a parent to be with her for the first few minutes in the
operation room. Sick Kids understands the stress in which parents are
under during a child's surgery and the staff are very calming and
helpful through pre-op visits and waits.
After five years of monitoring her eye and performing two surgeries
we are pleased to report that her eyes are now very well aligned.
Ellie will continue to strengthen her weak eye simply by using it over
time. We have noticed, physically that she is more aware of her depth
perception and that she struggles less with transcription. She does
not have that "goggly" look as she did for the first few years of her
life. She is now able to rotate her eyes as most people do and at 6
years old she can roll her eyes when frustrated and this is good to
November 23, 2015